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Traditions Engagement History of Engagement traditions

History of Engagement traditions


As a mutual promise to marry, the engagement is still a very popular tradition for couples. The term "fiancé" takes its origin from the French verb "se fier", based on Latin fidere "to trust".  This is why there is a concept of engagement involved.


In the past, for Jewish people, it was the groom and the bride's parents who would arrange the marriage of their child. The choice of the bride to be and the wedding proposal was made by both parents or only the father of the groom. Then, upon the acceptance of the bride's parents, they would organize the Jewish betrothal. The engagement parties were held to establish a formal contract between the bride's parents and the father or the legal representative of the groom. In their tradition, an engaged couple was considered as tied as if they were already married except that they could live together only after all the rituals for marriage and the wedding day. The engagement was such a serious commitment for Jewish that if ever the bride changes her mind , she couldn't get married to another man before making the legal process for divorce.

Later on, Roman would also make their engagement in front of witnesses. The union of the two families was above all for economical and political reasons and was symbolized with an iron ring. The ring was worn on the third finger of the left hand because there was a belief in Roman times and for centuries later that a nerve or sinew ran directly from this finger to the heart.

But in the Middle ages, the engagement became an official concept with the church. The weds to-be had to sign a registering form in front of the priest.

Today, the engagement is a good way for the two families to know each other and for the groom to give a proof of his love to the woman of his life.

The Engagement Ceremony

Traditionally, the mothers of the soon to be married couple would meet before the ceremony to fix the date of the wedding. As a common practice, it is the bride's parents who host the ceremony. The husband to be would send beautiful flowers to his betrothed in the morning of the engagement day, not forgetting his step mother to be, who would receive a more classical bunch of flowers. Generally, as far as the ceremony spending is concerned, the bride's family would offer the celebrations while the groom's family or the groom himself would offer the engagement ring.

Good to know : When an engagement is broken, the woman has the right to keep the engagement ring. Therefore, it is in good taste for the woman to offer to return the ring while the man can refuse it. But if it is a gems that has been in the family for a long time, the rules are very different. It has to be returned as it considered as a lending to the bride.