This past summer, I visited the Philippines to attend one of my cousin's wedding. It took place in the city of Antipolo, my mother's hometown and my birthplace. The wedding was held at a beautiful church with open walls that allowed the summer breeze to engulf the betrothed couple and all of their audience. Everyone waited with great anticipation as the groom walked down the aisle, shortly followed by the bride hand-in-hand with her parents. My cousin (the bride) looked stunning in her white wedding dress. Her parents clung onto her arms, reluctant to let go, but as they drew closer to the groom, their grip gradually loosened. As they released their daughter for the groom to take, the groom took a step back. Instead of first accepting his bride-to-be into his arms, he maneuvered himself around her and took a stand in front of her parents. In a fleeting moment, he bowed his head, took first her mother's hand and then her father's, and touched each of the back of their hands to his forehead. In the Filipino culture, we call this mano.
Mano is an everyday practice in which younger people touch their foreheads to the back of an elder's hand as a sign of respect and gratitude. It is customary to perform this at the beginning of an interaction with someone older and wiser than you are. For my cousin's fiance, paying his respect and gratitude to her parents was crucial in the moment of their wedding. By performing mano, he was thanking them for raising the woman he loved and granting him the honor of taking care of her from then on.
Every culture is different in how gratitude is shown, but it is never lost. May it be a simple "thank you" or a bow or a mano, it is gratitude rightfully paid, and the mere existence along with the great variety of gratitude expressions is what I would define as successful.