What is Harana?

During the olden days in the Philippines, the courtship ritual of singing love songs outside someone’s
window was a common practice. This was used by men to woo women through love songs.
This romantic Filipino love tradition is called the, Harana. Harana gained popularity as early as the 1700s.
From this period on, the local music was infused with the folk Music of Spain and the Mariachi sounds of Mexico. This fusion led to a unique style of Filipino music called kundiman which are typically used in harana.

So how does one do Harana? If a man wishes to serenade a woman he loved, then first, he arranges a group of friends to help him sing a song for her Typically with a guitar. Second, they would stand outside her window and play love songs to attract the woman’s attention. Watching from her house, the woman, along with all the family members present, would then enjoy the romantic performance and courageous display of affection. This becomes a chance for the young man to court not only his lover but her family as well. If invited inside the house, the parents and daughter will sit in the living room while the man will stay standing unless given permission to sit down. Typically, it is the father who does the talking. He asks the suitor about his family history, aspirations, financial situation, and intentions with his daughter. If all goes well, then the next stage of courtship takes place. Eventually, once the man has proven his worth it all leads to a wedding.

Courtship is an important aspect of the Filipino family culture
where the family is at the center of it all. Nowadays, Harana is rarely practiced and is just commonly seen in movies and plays. With the arrival of new technology and changes in social values traditional courting rituals which has been a part of Filipino culture has started to fade and blend in with the changing times.


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