Frequently Asked Questions and Readers' Answers on Daguio's "Wedding Dance"

I think Amador Daguio's "Wedding Dance" is often assigned as required reading for students. I understand why. It's a lovely story and it showcases an aspect of Philippine culture we hardly appreciate. The strongly Hispanized and very Catholic pueblo-folk would probably be shocked by the events in the story.  Divorce, wedding dances, and the traditional courtships; these are all foreign to the baptized majority in the largely Christian Philippines.

A Note to the Students: Dear students who wish to find a quick answer to their problems, read the story once. Before asking any more questions, go through the comments and the answers.  Then, read the story again. Only if after that are you still befuddled should you post a comment to ask a question. It's really frustrating to have to keep telling commenters to 'scroll up'.


About the story and its author:
  • Is there a lighter translation of the "Wedding Dance"? Is there a script?
    • Paris: No, there is no lighter translation. In fact, the story posted here is not a translation, it is the story in its original form (as far as I know).  I don't know of any script-versions of the story.  If you've written one, feel free to email it as a contribution. Post a comment on the site to make sure people know you sent me something.
  • Is there a sequel?
    • Paris: Not that I know of.
  • Who is Mr. Daguio?
    • Paris: Mr. Daguio is a pre-war writer born in 1912. If I'm not mistaken, he's dead. But, I'm sure the schools where he studied and taught at would have some information on him. Here are some of the schools affiliated with him. I'm not familiar with the regional ones, though:

      Rizal High School in Pasig
      UP Diliman in Quezon City
      UE in Manila
      Philippine Women's University in Manila 
About the meaning of the story:
  • What is the setting of the story?
    • Anonymous: ...I think this story is not from benguet. It is likely from ifugao. if you will just read through the story it will tell much of the culture, the setting, the things in the house, and others. Well, it needs an understanding of the different cultures of the Highland people on marriage for you to be able to understand the story. I would like to say also that this is not practiced anymore, well, maybe still practiced in isolated places. 
      I like those who are really interested concerning some other unknown cultures. :) 
    • Paris:  The introduction of the book states this about the story: "Set in the northern highlands, "Wedding Dance" by Amador Daguio is the most hurtful of these stories to read, starting on a pang of pain and never quite letting go."  I also noted at my introduction to the story that in their culture, divorce on grounds of infertility is allowed.  This is necessary context because the time setting of the story is during Awiyao's wedding to Madulimay.  He divorced Lumnay, whom he loves, because they could not have children.
  • What is the theme of the story?
    • Paris: The themes are, perhaps, "love about to be lost", "letting go", and "love does not conquer all". ← This was my original reply. To be honest, at that time, I only had a few minutes to look at the posts and come up with an answer.  Now that I can think about it more, I think the more appropriate answer is "the conflict and reconciliation between cultural demands and personal desires".  My first answer would've been technically correct, but a cheapening of the message of the story. The answer below stresses this point.
    • Anonymous: you see, if you read the whole text, this is actually a conflict between culture and the people who are part of the culture itself. from the previous lines in the story, we could see the meaning behind the "bonfire". the bonfire is the light of the law itself. the unwritten law within the culture and society where lumnay and awiyao lives. the bonfire's fire is higher than the fire that must be within lumnay's heart. the law has created a fire that surpasses even the fire that could be raging withing the people around the society. it's unbreakable, and we can see here, that even love cannot break it. they simply do not have the courage to do so because none of them has ever dared to do so.
  • Why is the story entitled "Wedding Dance"?
    • Paris: the title may pertain to awiyao's wedding dance with his new wife, which is happening in the background at the time of the story. it may also pertain to the "dance of marriage". it may also pertain to lumnay's reminiscing about her own wedding dance. ← again, another knee-jerk answer. It was again, technically, correct, but it's incomplete.  The "Wedding Dance" is not just about the act of dancing during a wedding.  It is an illustration of the culture of the people living on in their lives.  Everything about the wedding dance is immersed in tradition.  Throughout the story, Lumnay and Awiyao can hear the sound of the gangsa playing in the distance.  The Northern version of the gangsa is a suspended flat gong that is held by its player.  I only saw one, but if I remember correctly, a community may have a set of these varying in size.  Each gong is played by one person so the festive music Lumnay and Awiyao hear is the harmony of the community.  In her solitude, locked up in her home, Lumnay was initially insulated from the sound of the unified tribe celebrating Awiyao's leaving their fruitless marriage.  Perhaps this will make it easier to understand why the rush of the music had been so painful for her and why the sound of the gangsa playing was reiterated several times.
    • tassandra: the reason why the wedding dance is entitled as wedding dance bcoz in their tribe when one person is getting married they will have a party this called "shower party" the other reason is when awiyao and lumnay when they are getting married they have wedding dance and for them this is the start of HAPPINESS in their life......... 
  • What is the meaning of the last paragraphs of the story: "A few more weeks, a few more months, a few more harvests—what did it matter?She would be holding the bean flowers, soft in texture, silken almost, but moist where the dew got into them, silver to look at, silver on the light blue blooming whiteness, when the morning comes. The stretching of the bean pods full length from the hearts of the wilting petals would go on.
    Lumnay’s fingers moved a long time among the growing bean pods"? 
    • Anonymous: "The stretching of the bean pods full length from the hearts of the wilting petals would go on." - with regard these lines, the stretching of the bean pods symbolizes the CULTURE. and the wilting petals, would be the LOVE of Lumnay and Awiyao. taking the symbolism, the stretching of the culture will always go on...it will always mark its way, though love is at its way.

      you see, if you read the whole text, this is actually a conflict between culture and the people who are part of the culture itself. from the previous lines in the story, we could see the meaning behind the "bonfire". the bonfire is the light of the law itself. the unwritten law within the culture and society where lumnay and awiyao lives. the bonfire's fire is higher than the fire that must be within lumnay's heart. the law has created a fire that surpasses even the fire that could be raging withing the people around the society. it's unbreakable, and we can see here, that even love cannot break it. they simply do not have the courage to do so because none of them has ever dared to do so.  
  • What are the issues related to this story?
    • Paris: Perhaps, living in a largely Christian society, the issue of divorce and remarriage could be brought up, as Awiyao and Lumnay went through a similar experience. If you would read through the comments and notes, you would see that not producing children is a good reason for divorce (this may seem inconcievable to us), because in this culture, producing an heir is important (see the story Son of Wood for a better picture of the Ifugao culture regarding marriage and children). 
  • What did Lumnay see in the fire?  What was the meaning of the bonfire?
    • Anonymous: ...you see, if you read the whole text, this is actually a conflict between culture and the people who are part of the culture itself. from the previous lines in the story, we could see the meaning behind the "bonfire". the bonfire is the light of the law itself. the unwritten law within the culture and society where lumnay and awiyao lives. the bonfire's fire is higher than the fire that must be within lumnay's heart. the law has created a fire that surpasses even the fire that could be raging withing the people around the society. it's unbreakable, and we can see here, that even love cannot break it. they simply do not have the courage to do so because none of them has ever dared to do so.  
  • What does 'seven harvests' mean?
    • Anonymous: "Seven harvests" - is somehow an idiomatic expression. if you are a farmer, you probably know that there are two seasons for harvesting in a year. my professor once said that seven harvests meant almost three and a half years of marriage. you may be thinking, three and a half years is not an enough reason to remarry again, but then, we could see, that in a culture and society that of Awiyao, three years and a half serves a long time for them to have children.  
    • Junaid: "Seven Harvest"-this is the time limit for a couple to have child else the have to divorce according to thier culture.

2 comments:

Charles Janzen Rosario said...

What does the gangsa symbolizes?

Charles Janzen Rosario said...

What does the gangsa symbolizes?