Is the Tradition of Engagement Rings in America a Timeless Love Story?
Engagement rings given by the groom or exchanged by the bride and groom are so common today, but it might be difficult to believe that there was nothing called an engagement ring just 6 centuries ago. Over the years, social mores and economic conditions have dictated the way the giving and receiving of these rings has changed. But let us take a step back and see where and how it all started, and what changes the customs have gone through are, and what the traditions are today.
The Origins of Engagement Rings
- The tradition of an engagement ring was started by the Archduke of Austria, who presented a ring to Mary of Burgundy when he got betrothed to her. This was way back in the 15th century.
- The engagement ring could also be presented to the bride as part of the dowry given to her family. When she wore it, she would be advertising her status as already committed. Also, the quality and composition of her ring would convey the status of the groom and his family.
- The basic shape of an engagement ring is round, though it could be either a simple band or a richly textured ring. But the circular shape came to be associated with the eternal nature of the marriage that an engagement was heralding.
- Engagement rings can be plain metal bands but the most popular engagement rings are those which are made of yellow gold and are embellished with diamonds. Diamonds are thought to be broken off from stars and they also provide protection from the elements, diseases, theft, dacoity and so on.
- Traditionally an engagement ring has always been offered and accepted when a marriage proposal is being made. We have all seen those movies and read those stories when the hero gets down on one knee and asks for the heroine’s hand in marriage, and offers the ring when he pops the question.
- Some people do not offer and accept the engagement ring during the time the proposal is being made. They go out together later and shop for rings for each other together.
- You can easily pick out the kind of engagement ring that your woman would like. This can be done by listening closely when she speaks about other peoples’ engagements and the rings they exchanged.
- In case you do not want to give her any inkling of what you are planning then you would need to take the help of friends. Make sure the friends are such who won’t spill the beans before time.
- One tradition of engagement rings is that it is the men who makes the first move and gets on one knee to propose. Another tradition linked to this is that the man pays for the ring.
- Next, there are lots of traditions regarding which hand and which finger to wear the engagement ring on. The ring is usually worn on the left hand on the ring finger. You must have heard of the vein on this fourth finger which goes straight to the heart, which is why the ring is worn on that finger.
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