Weeding out the wedding month of June

By Herbert L. Vego

THIS month of June has universal popularity as “the wedding month.” To a certain extent, to be a June bride has become an obsession among young girls.

In fact, I married my estranged wife in June 1972, 50 years, ago to fulfill her wish to be a June bride. I did not know why; all I knew was that we were following a tradition.

“All right,” I assured her, “then let me be a June groom.”

“Bahala na,” I whispered to myself.

I was not supposed to marry yet. As a 22-year-old entertainment reporter and ghost writer for a daily newspaper columnist in Manila – fresh out of Journalism school — I had barely saved enough money for a wedding. In fact, my parents in Antique had warned against early marriage, which could derail my career and financial advancement. Moreover, I had promised to help my younger siblings pursue college education.

But such was the force of my heartbeat that I deluded myself into believing that, since I was already earning excess money for myself, a second mouth to feed would not be much of a burden.

My girl was a second-year Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEEd) student.

So intense was my love for her that I agreed to her choice of the Roman Catholic parish in Guadalupe, Makati City as venue of our wedding, even if I was not a Catholic.

To make the long story short, the marriage ended in break-up after eight years and one son.

If there was one thing I succeeded in, it was in proving my parents right: that “singles” had to be well-prepared before plunging into “double life.”

I wonder how many other fiancés and fiancées had married in June, just like me, without even knowing the reason behind the tradition.

Now I know why June is not a merry marrying month; and why the practice ought to be discontinued in the Philippines.

Blame it on Rome for initiating the tradition. The Romans favored June weddings because that was the month dedicated to Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. There was a practical side to it: A marriage in June could result in a conception early enough so that a wife wouldn’t be so full with child as to stay at home during the harvest. A June wedding also meant that the baby would be born soon enough for the bride to be in shape for the next harvest.

Indeed in pre-contraceptive Europe, getting married in June meant that children conceived from June unions would be born the following spring, increasing their chances of survival after the long – and often very lean – winter months.

Even the term “honeymoon” has a historical origin, referring to the first moon after the summer solstice in June – which was called the “honey moon.”

The Hollywood movie industry exploited and boosted the popularity of June as the wedding month by churning movies sustaining that image, starting with the film June Bride (1948).

Unfortunately, adopting the Roman style makes no sense in the Philippine setting. As to why, three arguments may be cited. First, June marks the beginning of the rainy season and typhoon visits in the archipelago. Second, students having gone back to school in June, expenses are in high gear. Third, invited guests could be so busy in school or at work that some of them may not show up for the wedding. And fourth, diseases like dengue and flu are rampant in this rainy month.

Therefore, to today’s young ones, think before you plunge into “double life”.