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Unique Engagement Rituals from Around the World

Unique Engagement Rituals from Around the World
on March, 12 2014

Engagement is an important part of various cultures. This is where the soon to be wedded couples publicly declare their intention to be married. This is also where the blessing of the family members is sought for. Here are some of the most interesting engagement rituals from around the world.

Colorful Punjabi Engagement

The Punjabis have interesting engagement rituals. The basic pre-wedding ritual is called the "Roka". This event is attended by both the bride and groom’s family members. This is the mark of a formal relationship amongst the family members. At the end of the ceremony, the couple is considered engaged. The fixed wedding date called “Shub Muhurat” or perfect time is also announced on this day. Wedding preparations will then be underway. Aside from the actual engagement, there are also other interesting pre-wedding rituals for the Punjabis. One of them is called “sagan.” This is a ritual that is carried out at the house of the groom. A ceremony called “havan” is performed in which the father of the girl is requested to place “Tikka” on the boy’s forehead. The tikka is usually made from flower petals and rice grains. This is followed by the bowing down of the boy to get the family’s blessings. Then, the family of the girl gives presents and cash to the boy.

Traditional Thai Engagement with Procession

Usually, engagements are made before the wedding. Some couples even do it months ahead of the wedding to prepare for the big day. However, in some provinces in Thailand, it could take place on the actual wedding day for practicality reasons. During the engagement, a “khan maak” procession is done. This is where the groom will make his way into the wedding venue. Along the way, there will be musicians playing instruments. The groom will be sort of mocked and given challenges to test if he really is worthy to be a groom. Since this ritual is done on the same day as the wedding, the ceremony begins as soon as the groom enters the house. Also, during the engagement, the “dowry” or the amount to be paid to the girl’s family for taking her hand will be discussed. Sadly, not so many Thai couples still practice this tradition.

Philippines: Engagement for the Groom to be is a Challenge

In a traditional Filipino engagement, it is not easy for men to just ask for their woman’s hand from the family. He has to go through a series of challenges first. He needs to “wow” the family and prove that he deserves her. The challenges may include doing household chores, interviews by family members, farming, fixing the house and many others. This is usually done in the provinces. This is to ensure that the man is ready to be a husband. Once everything is settled, a “pamamanhikan” takes place where the formal blessings of the parents are sought. This is also where the wedding details are discussed. The pamamanhikan is still done until today, but men going through a challenge has taken a more modern course.

An Intimate Polish Engagement

Wedding celebrations in Poland may last for days. However, the huge expenses start as early as the engagement. Usually, a formal family gathering is made where several relatives are invited to come. Recently, it has been reduced to immediate family members only to make it more intimate, but it should still be an elegant and grand dinner. Another interesting fact is that in some Polish regions, wedding invitations are still handed over personally to the guests where the couples go from door to door.

There are a lot of colorful engagement rituals all over the world, with even more colorful weddings  expected afterwards.

Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

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