If you’re Filipino or if you’ve ever been to any Filipino household growing up then you’ve probably seen the traditional big wooden fork and spoon hanging on the wall (right next to the carved Last Supper of course). It never dawned on me what the significance of these huge utensils could be. Growing up you just accept them as being a part of your home and pretty much every other Filipino friends’ homes. I even called my Lola (Grandma in Filipino) to ask her about them and she laughed and said she had no idea, yet she had them! So why did every single Filipino house have these? Was it like a pyramid “business”? Did some early adapter say to his friends “If you get this big fork and spoon you can then double your forks and spoons.” Oh ok! Yah that must be it.
So why? Why did our parents and grandparents have these “standard” household embellishments? OK the Last Supper is obvious. Most of us are super Catholic. But huge fork and spoon…are we super eaters? OK maybe. So I decide to research. CORRECTION. TRIED TO research the significance of these larger than life decorations. Believe it or not, I couldn’t find any! Crazy right? I did find one, and only one, which says:
1) The symbolism means having good health and a prosperous family. The oversizing enhances that symbolism. The spoon and fork were symbols of good health since “food” would be the source for a healthy body.
2) The symbolism means family strength since the time that the family is actually gathered together is at meal time. Again, the oversizing is to emphasize that strength for all that visit the home to see.
Ok ok. That actually makes the most sense. Us and our symbolism (i.e. sun and stars tats anyone?). Maybe we should change it up and start throwing on the fork and spoon, tribal style of course haha.
Despite the non-significance of this art I now treasure this memory growing up. I hardly see this “decor” these days, so when I do, I double take. And it brings me back. Back to the plastic covered couches, the shell planters, the capiz lamps, the foil wallpaper, the heavy curtains, the deco lighting, the shag carpet, the never used organ in the corner…and the parties. Oh the parties….
Hmmmm…good health, prosperous family, meal time gathering, family strength…then oversize that? I’m with it.
Till the next episode…