There are a lot of stories how ritual in relationship, asking for someone’s hand in marriage started. This ritual, usually a demonstration of love and performance involves formal questioning of “Will you marry me?” on bended knees and putting of an engagement ring.
Why kneel during a wedding proposal?
According to EngagementRings website, this kneeling practice is part of the knights ritual. Knights kneel down when the royalty bestowed knighthood to them. Bending the knees and bowing down means veneration. Bending the knees means surrendering oneself to the person you love, being vulnerable in being a couple. Kneeling during the wedding proposal over the years is a symbolic gesture conveying honor, spirituality, obeisance and honest surrender to the person for the union.
Another historical fact on the origin of this wedding proposal is when Pope Innocent III in 1215 issued a decrees ordering couples to make their relationship public. This is done in churches allowing outsiders to voice out their disagreements before the marriage ceremony will be conducted. (This practice still finds it way during the marriage ceremony, wherein old lovers sometimes put some drama to ruin the ceremony but you see it mostly in telenovelas).
The wedding proposal establishes the ‘transition’ phase of the people in a relationship to be a serious one, with the intention of spending the rest of their lives together. The engagement period puts the tradition of going into several rituals- the proposal, putting the ring and showing it off, announcement parties, setting the date of union, sending out of invitations and the wedding ceremony itself. All of this requires an ample time wherein the couple will sort out possible hindrance before the marriage is made official in front of the public.
Who puts the ring?
In several Western cultures, the man usually inititaes the proposing. But many are deviating from the norms. In Finland, there is a leap year proposal, wherein the woman proposes to her partner. But why leap year? Whle the Greeks think leap year means bad omen, the Irisha and the Scots think otherwise – Proposeing on a leap year means goodluck.
Legends say it started when St Bridgid (ca. 451-525) an Irish nun asked St. Patrick to enact a law giving women the right to propose to their shy suitors. At first, St. Patrick allowed this to happen every seven years, but St. Bridgid insisted to make it shorter, and thus, it was allowed every four years- during a leap year! There were also fol tales saying St. Bridgid herself proposed to St. Patrick but he declined and offered her instead a silk gown. Thus, the Irish has the tradition that any man refusing a girl who proposed during a leap-deay must give give the woman a silk gown.
On the other side, it said Queen Margaret of Scotland made a law in 1288 giving women rights to propose on a leap -year. But the women who will propose were asked to wear a red petticoat as a warning to the her partner that a question of marriage will be popped out within the day.
The accuracy of these legends has been questioned- saying St. Bridgin was still a child when St. Patrick died and Queen Margaret was only eight years old when she died. But still many continue to believe, saying this is a harmless historical fiction. And besides, more and more women are taking equality rights to the front, this tradition are becoming unnecessary.
Women are also taking charge: Queen Victoria was the one who proposed to Prince Albert. Jennifer Hudson kneeled and proposed to David Otunga, her boyfriend and set the date of the wedding on her birthday! Pink held up a sign saying, “Will you marry me?” to Carey Hart, her former husband. Halle Berry, one fo the Bond girls proposed to David Justice (her former husband of four years). The former pop-princess Britney Spears was the one who proposed to Kevin Federline. Even Elizabeth Taylor popped the question of marriage to Montgomery Clift but he said no and never became a part of Taylor’s seven-husband parade.
The LGBT (Lesbians, gays, bisexuaS and transgenders) community are also getting out of the boxed proposals. In a world where wedding proposals has a lot of cretive ideas (and even crazier!), the idea of proposing is with full sincerity and intention to make the union work. And of course, for the one who proposed to hear the resounding YES!