Filipino Icon: Ninong at Ninang
Ninongs and ninangs are either a child’s godparents, or they are the principal sponsors at a person’s wedding.
Filipino culture is very family- and community-centered, and the nuclear family is just one part of a Filipino’s life. Ninongs and ninangs can be family friends, relatives, or even just respected members of the community. It is a way to strengthen community ties, and is generally considered an honor. When a person is asked to take on the role of the ninong or the ninang, it is a sign of trust and respect.
Wedding sponsors help guide the newlywed couple through their marriage in their parents’ absence. At the most basic however, most ninongs and ninangs at weddings help the couple by providing financial support for the wedding.
As godparents, ninongs and ninangs are present during their godchildren’s baptisms, and they give their godchildren gifts during Christmas and on their birthdays. But the responsibility of the ninong and the ninang goes far deeper than that. They are tasked with the duty of giving their godchildren guidance and support and serving as additional sets of parents for them, especially in the absence of their real parents.
Ninongs and ninangs serve as safety nets for their godchildren, and they’re inseparable parts of Filipino culture and society.