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The Cebuanos Culture, Customs And Traditions


Cebuano language, also spelled Cebuanos, also called SUGBAHANON, member of the Western, or Indonesian, branch of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. It was spoken in the late 20th century by as many as 14,6000,000 persons in the Philippines (speakers are spread over eastern Negros, Cebu, Bohol, western Leyte, the Camotes Islands, and the norther and western coasts of Mindanao). Cebuano is closely related to the Hiligaynon (Ilongo) and Waray languages, with which it is sometimes grouped as dialects of a Visayan (Bisayan) language.

Native Cebuano speakers constitute about one-fourth of the population and as such comprise the largest linguistic and cultural group in the country. Despite its spoken frequency, Cebuano is little used as a literary language, although newspapers and films both use the language.


The Cebuanos observe certain customs and traditions about birth, baptism, courtship, marriage, death and burial.


The coming of a child is welcomed by a Cebuano family for it is about to give birth, pomelo leaves are placed under the house so as to drive away all evil spirits which maybe hovering around. While the woman is in labor, the family burn some dried leaves and roots so that smoke will free the mother from painful labor pains. It is a sign of good luck when the mothers first baby happens to be a boy. After the child is born, the placenta is buried on he seashore to insure the baby's good health. During the first haircut of the child some pieces of hair are set aside and inserted in the prayer book or any book to make the child a wide reader when he grows up.


It is the customs among the Cebuanos to baptize child a few days after birth or in a week's time Godparents are chosen very carefully because they are the second parents of the child. The parents hope the child will emulate the good examples shown by his godparents.


When a man falls is in love a girls the first step that he does is to visit her at home. Woman are quite shy and it will take the man a long time before a girl answers his proposal. Sometimes the man asks a third person to act as his go-between to help him win the favor of the girl he loves. As soon as he engaged, the man's parents request an important person in the community, preferably the barangay chairman, to ask for the girl's hand in marriage. The mediator has to go back several times before the girls parents give their consent to the marriage of their daughter. Every time he goes to the house of the girl's parent he bring with him food and drinks for merrymaking. An important requirement which the parents of the girl ask for the living of dowry consisting of a certain amount of money of some valuable pieces of jewelry.


All the preparations for the wedding party is done at the groom's house. Part of it is bought to the bride's house to be served to her guests and relatives. The expenses for the party are shouldered by the groom.

After the wedding ceremony, the newlyweds walk together to the bride's house. Two plates filled with water and some leaves of the San Francisco plant are placed at the foot of the stairs for the newlyweds to step on. An old woman who is a member of the bride's family combs the hair of the newlyweds and offers some advice for a happy life together. It is believed that by stepping on the plates and combing the hair of the married couple, they will have an orderly, and harmonious life.


Cebuanos believe that people should not sweep the floor when somebody dies for it might cause the death of other members of the family.


Let us read of the superstitious beliefs of the Cebuanos about planting, courtship and curing one's sickness.


It is believed that crops planted during low tide bear more fruit so farmers observe the movement of the tides before planting anything.

When the skies are filled with thousands stars, it is the best time to plant for it will bear plenty of fruits.


When a star is close to the moon, it is believed that it is the proper time to court a lady. The man's proposal will readily be accepted.


When someone gets sick in the family, it is believed that the sick person is being punished by the fairies because of his carelessness or naughtiness. An herbolario is invited to perform the healing ceremony. The family kills or dresses a pig or two chickens on this occasion.


Wise saying serve as guides in one's daily activities. The Cebuanos have proverbs to share with us.


The way to heaven is hard and difficult.


Don't count the chicks before they are hatched. A rolling stone gathers no moss.


Noisy water is shallow.


Many hands make work lighter.


A crooked tree can be straightened while young.


Health is wealth.


Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.


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