The Engagement is Announced Between ...
May 09 , 2016

The Engagement is Announced Between ...

Engagement ring traditions and symbolism around the world

The Engagement is Announced Between ...
Engagement traditions vary a lot around the world and they’re becoming increasingly flexible, but there are two traditions you’ll probably want to keep: the ring and the celebration party.

When in Rome
The tradition of giving a ring to show that a woman is engaged goes back to Roman times.  The first diamond engagement ring was given in 1477; before that they had been plain, the quality (gold, silver or other metal) depending on how rich the bride’s family was.  Sometimes the engagement ring was part of the bride’s dowry.
The Romans placed the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand because they believed that the vein of love (“vena amoris”) ran directly from there to the heart.  In Britain we still use that finger for both engagement and wedding rings, with the wedding ring nearer the heart.  This is also a more practical place to wear it if you follow the tradition of never removing your wedding ring, because it makes it easier to take off your engagement ring if you need to.
In many places, including Russia, Germany and Norway, the engagement ring is placed on the fourth finger of the right hand instead.  It is in Chile, too – and the man gets one too, as he does in Sweden.  The rings are moved to the left hand during the wedding ceremony.  In Argentina the engagement ring doubles as the wedding ring – again, it’s on the right hand until the couple marry, when it moves to the left.  

With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
In traditional Hindu families, the rings are worn on the toes instead of the fingers.  That wouldn’t work in a Scottish winter though – you’d never see the ring, and just think what the diamond would do to your shoes!  
In West Bengal women wear bangles instead of engagement rings, while the Samburu of Kenya wear beaded rings around their necks, with specific colours indicating that they’re engaged.
If you wear an Irish Claddagh ring as an engagement ring, the heart should point towards you during your engagement, and away from you once you’re married.  But it may not be recognised as an engagement ring, because the Claddagh is worn by lots of people for quite different reasons.
The circle of a ring represents eternity, wholeness and perfection because it has no beginning or end, while the triple-stone engagement ring symbolises your past, present and future.  A family heirloom ring carries even more meaning as it joins the history of one family, normally the groom’s, to the future of the couple.  Above all, an engagement ring, or a pair of rings, represents the commitment the couple have made to each other and their mutual love.

It’s time to celebrate
It’s that love and commitment that gives us the second major tradition: the engagement party.  It can be a dinner for just the immediate families, a full-scale party for all your friends, or somewhere in the middle, depending on your budget and personalities.  Whatever form it takes, it’s a celebration of a new beginning.  
Traditionally the parents of the bride paid for the engagement party as well as the wedding, but it’s becoming quite normal for the couple themselves to pay for it, or even for their friends to chip in.  

Whatever size of party you want The Red House can accommodate it, from a small dinner to a party for 160 guests and a band.  Give us a call today and let us help you celebrate.

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