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Monday, August 09, 2010

The History of the Anting-Anting

An excerpt from the Dennis Villegas' essay:
and you shall be as gods: 
the culture of the anting-anting

Before the coming of the Spaniards, the early Filipinos were already known to keep amulets, talismans, charms, and various other objects to protect them from harm, the elements, and the evil spirits. Crocodile tooth, gems, odd-shaped stones, and even fossilized remains of animals were the earliest known examples of anting-anting used by the early Filipinos.

The anting anting has many other names in the Tagalog lexicon: bertud, agimat, gamit, talisman, mutya, or galing. It also comes in many forms. It can be a medallion, a small book, a piece of paper, a tattoo, a crocodile tooth, a meteorite, a vest or scarf inscribed with oraciones, and many others. No one is quite sure how the word anting-anting came to be. According to Lorna Montilla, anting-anting may have evolved from the Latin word “anti,” and thus means “anti-anti” or “against-against.” Indeed if the present belief in the popular use of anting-anting is to be considered, Montilla may be correct, since the anting-anting is mostly used to protect its wearer against harm and illness. But there are also some who put forward the theory that the term is actually derived from the Javanese word “anting-anting” which means ear pendants. Anting-anting may also have been derived from the Bahasa Melayu word “anting” that means “dangling” or “swinging.”



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