I personally enjoy attending family gatherings and celebrations; birthday, wedding, funeral (not so), baby’s 1st birthday, bridal shower, baby shower, retirement party, or an impromptu pulehu (grilling/barbecue in Hawaiian) by the beach just to end a nice work week. This is the perfect opportunity to see almost everybody in the family and I always look forward to catching up with them, extending warm greetings, coupled with quick hugs and kisses (on the cheek), and to basically “talk stories” all day.
In the past, during the years when my Grandma Pet was still around, growing up we were raised to greet the elders first, by gracefully grabbing their hand and draw it on our forehead (knuckle side of the hand and we called it mano in Tagalog) and we would wait until our elder says “God bless you” before we can move on to the next hand and so on. By the way, did you know that Filipinos are known for having a big family? Just saying, that’s a lot of hands to grab before we can be free! We are not allowed to play or say “hello” to anyone else until we’re done giving respect to the elders in the house we’re visiting; that means Mom and Dad’s age and above.
After living in Hawaii for over 35 years, the old tradition of mano was replaced by the greetings of aloha, where you hug and/or kiss (on the cheek), more likely equivalent to giving respect and greetings at the same time. I have to say, every now and then I see youngsters still practicing mano, and in my heart, I always wish that this timeless Filipino values and tradition would continue to grow its popularity for our future generations. Truly a gesture of Pinoy by choice mindset – maraming salamat po.