Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paano ba talaga mang-Harana?

It is a very puzzling thought when you realize that a lot of people try to talk about harana, but no one seems to know much about it. We know it is singing to a woman, but do we really know how it works? Probably the harana most of us had seen was from the movies, which is quite far from reality. In short, we really don't have a clue.

Harana is a social thing, with some friends supporting the suitor, dressed up in their best. But it isn't just singing under the window of the maiden. I have read in haranista Florante Aguilar's blog that in Cavite, a serenade is a ritual with several stages and I'm thinking it doesn't get completed in one night all the time. Subtlety and respect apparently are champion virtues here, so if you're going to harana, don't leave home without it.

The first stage is Panawagan. Calling out to your beloved from outside the house with a song, imploring her to open the window. This is the part where everyone is very familiar with. And perhaps, this is also the part where not everyone gets beyond. Show up too early, you'd be spoiling their dinner. Show up too late, you'd be singing till morning with no windows opening because they're all asleep.

If you're lucky enough, the windows open as an invitation to enter the house. With almost the whole household watching, the Pagtatapat takes place. A song is offered to the lady, as a declaration of admiration to her and to her whole family. When the music and singing stops, a response from the woman is awaited.

When the lady sings, the serenade enters the Panagutan stage. There are sets of songs appropriated for her replies. It could be a song of diplomatic uncertainty or a song of affirmation (if she likes the suitor). If it is a song of affirmation, the harana group may join the lady in singing. Here's a song mostly used to answer suitors:

You see, harana is like a conversation, an exchange of messages in songs and music. It could be about waiting, it could be loving. It could be promising, it could be not. And after the outcome has been determined, the Pamamaalam stage sets in. A closing song is sang, then the haranistas disappear into the night.

Harana then seems like an acceptable expression of feelings in a strict and uptight society. What better way to do so than music and subtle lyrics that fit in the night. It must have been amazing then.