Bayanihan


In the Philippines, Bayanihan is a tradition that involves moving an entire home to a new location. This custom involves villagers who gather to help lift up a home and then to carry it over a far distance. In some instances, it is done to avoid damage from impending floods or landslides, but in most cases it is done to simply help another family in the community.

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The Filipino word bayanihan comes from the word bayan which translates to town, nation, or community. The actual word Bayanihan means, “being a bayan,” which refers to a communal spirit of harmony and support that can accomplish impossible feats.

This custom is performed by community members who will place long bamboo poles length and cross-wise to form a strong frame to lift the house from its stilts that are implanted in the ground.  Then the volunteers proceed by carrying the house using the frame. It usually takes  20 or more people working together to carry the entire house. Even though this is a tedious and strenuous task it is all done in a festive mood and at the end of the day, the moving family will host a small fiesta.

The Bayanihan practice usually takes place in rural areas of the Philippines because homes in these areas are made of lighter materials like bamboo and palm wood, making it easier to transport. In the rare case that it does happen in urban areas, it is usually just moving items like hardware or playground sets like: swings, seesaws, and basketball hoops.

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Living in America, we only deal with the objects inside our homes that need to be moved and will have vehicles that will help transport these items. While in the Philippines, those who practice bayanihan must gather many members of a community to actually physically move a whole house. It really puts moving into a whole new perspective.

Submitted by Kate Schmitt

Sources:

Rodriguez, Jo. “10 Unique Customs You’ll Only Find In Specific Cultures – Listverse.” Listverse. 10 Oct

Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <http://listverse.com/2014/10/11/10-unique-customs-youll-only-find-in-specific-cultures/>.

Sarmenta, Luis. “Bayanihan.” Project Bayanihan. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.

<http://groups.csail.mit.edu/cag/bayanihan/bayanword.html>.

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