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Proposals

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DVD Smith
1267566.  Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:53 pm Reply with quote

[Could also be used for the Q series under "Question (Popping the)".]

Q: On what day of the year do the most marriage proposals happen?

Klaxon: Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve

According to a 2015 study by Facebook, the most popular day of the year for marriage proposals to occur is Christmas Eve. In fact, one third of all couples get engaged in November and December. Valentine's Day is the fourth most popular day for proposals, behind Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Probably the most famous woman in history to propose to her male partner was Queen Victoria, who had to propose to Prince Albert because legally, as queen, Victoria could not be proposed to. She didn't do it on a leap year though, she did it on October 15th, 1839.(Source)

This book has loads of interesting information on proposals. The idea of a man asking a woman to marry him only really came about in the 1700s, as before that most marriages were arranged. It took much longer for this tradition to reach France, to the point where French aristocrats and travellers wrote about their surprise that English marriages were based on love rather than arrangement.

In the south-west of England, if a woman proposes to a man on February 29th and he turns her down, tradition states that he is obligated to give her a new pair of gloves at Easter.(Source) By the mid-twentieth century, this "compensation" had evolved to either a silk gown or a fur coat. (Source) Gloves used to be hugely associated with weddings - this page describes a wedding from 1748 where 83 pairs of gloves were exchange as gifts.

No one's quite sure where the tradition of women proposing to men on February 29th comes from. Two stories are that it comes from an Irish tale about St Bridget striking a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men, and that Queen Margaret of Scotland wrote a law permitting female proposals in 1288. However, both of these appear to be false, as Saint Bridget was a child when St Patrick died, and Queen Margaret died when she was eight. (Source)

Before it spread around the English-speaking world, the only other country that appears to have this tradition is Finland. In Finland, if a woman proposes to a man on February 29th and he refuses, he must give the woman enough cloth to make a skirt. (I've read this in several places including Wikipedia, but I can't find an original source as they all seem to reference each other. This article has an update at the end of it that seems to corrobroate the story and confirm that it is a real Finnish custom.)


Last edited by DVD Smith on Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:53 am; edited 3 times in total

 
'yorz
1267570.  Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:33 pm Reply with quote

Re gloves - the Dutch expression for proxy bride = glove-bride: my paternal grandmother was one: she went to a registrar on approximately the same day as her groom, who was in the Dutch Indies at the time (around 1905). They both held one of a pair of gloves as substitute for the real McCoy.
There is a sepia photograph of a whole group of glove-brides on deck of a ship that took them enterprising intrepid young lasses all the way from Rotterdam to Batavia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxy_marriage
https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/trouwen-met-de-handschoen/

 
DVD Smith
1269126.  Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:31 pm Reply with quote

"If I'm ever the father of a daughter in thirty years' time and her boyfriend comes to me asking for permission to marry her, I'm gonna set the fucker tasks!" - Dara Ó Briain

Turns out, in Scotland, they used to do exactly this. It was known as "speerin'" (from the old Scots word for "asking"),[1][2] and any man who wanted a woman's hand in marriage had to complete a series of Taskmaster-style trials and hurdles for her father to prove his worth. [3] (Google suggests more info is available from this book but right now I have no access to a physical copy.)

In Fiji, prospective grooms traditionally ask the father's permission to marry his daughter by presenting him with a whale's tooth (known as a tabua). Each family appoint a representative to speak on their behalf (very handy if you are too scared to ask her yourself!) at which the speeches are made and the whale's tooth is presented. However, if the woman's father refuses the proposal, he does so by presenting a whale's tooth of his own! That poor whale. [4][5]

In Ethiopia, marriages are arranged by the parents, but before they can decide if a woman is suitable to marry their son, they investigate back seven generations of the bride's family (!) to ensure there is no blood relation between the two families. In recent years this has been relaxed to "only" five generations. [6] (Imagine doing a full Who Do You Think You Are for every potential romantic pursuit!)

I'd never heard of this, but apparently it's quite common in Wales for a man to give a carved "lovespoon" to a girl he wishes to court/marry. If a girl receives several lovespoons from several admirers, she would hang them all up on the wall of her house. [7]

In France, the engagement ring isn't bought until after the proposal; once the man has asked the question and the woman has accepted, they go shopping for the ring together. Tradition then dictates that the woman is not allowed to wear her ring until the families hold an official engagement party, known as Les Fiançailles (The Betrothal), where the two sets of parents meet for the first time. In very traditional families, the man wears white gloves when asking for the father's permission (yet another example of gloves being a big part of wedding customs). [8]

Although extremely common today, the word "fiancé(e)" was considered a very ugly word in the first half of the twentieth century, with The Bride's Book or Young Housewife's Compendium of 1932 saying "The well-disposed reader will have noticed that we have done everything in human power to avoid using this horrid word, but with the best will in the world it is not always possible to find a substitute." [9]


Last edited by DVD Smith on Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:54 am; edited 2 times in total

 
crissdee
1269151.  Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:17 am Reply with quote

DVD Smith wrote:
I'd never heard of this, but apparently it's quite common in Wales for a man to give a carved "lovespoon" to a girl he wishes to court/marry.


I'm mildly surprised to hear you were unaware of this custom, I thought it was pretty common knowledge. I went to Brecon museum once and saw an excellent display of such things. One of them was made in the form of a chain about six feet long, all carved from a single piece of wood.


DVD Smith wrote:
In France, the engagement ring isn't bought until after the proposal; once the man has asked the question and the woman has accepted, they go shopping for the ring together.


Makes sense really, and in effect is probably what happens with most couples. Wouldn't know myself..............

 
suze
1269176.  Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:52 am Reply with quote

In my experience, there is often a kind of "If I were to ..., would you ...?" conversation some time before the "official" proposal. Once the man has heard the right noises he goes away and buys the ring, and then he comes back and asks the question "officially".

Not that any such thing happened as between me and my present husband. As it happens he did propose to me on Valentine's Day, and since we'd already been living together for several years I wasn't expecting it. I can't say that I'd thought about it all that often, but if I had then I'd probably have assumed that neither of us considered getting officially married all that important.

I'd have been wrong though. Much as I wasn't expecting his proposal, it took me rather less than one second to realize that I did want to do what he suggested and to accept. Some might tell you that marriage is only a piece of paper, but they are wrong. Actually getting married is the best thing we've ever done.

I'm sure Andy was pretty confident that I'd say "yes" before he went out to buy the ring, but if I had declined then he'd just have taken it back to the shop.

There is only one caveat. Had he proposed to me live on national television just as I was coming out of the Big Brother house having placed seventh, or just as he was being presented with the plastic Ashes trophy having captained England to victory over the upside down lot, I'd have told him to fuck off. Guys, don't do it.

 
'yorz
1269192.  Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:32 am Reply with quote

Dunno - there are plenty of lasses who like that sortofthing. Anyhoo, you're already off the market, so let everybody else crack on with it whatever way appeals to them. :-)

 
Jenny
1269213.  Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:21 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
In my experience, there is often a kind of "If I were to ..., would you ...?" conversation some time before the "official" proposal. Once the man has heard the right noises he goes away and buys the ring, and then he comes back and asks the question "officially".


My son, who has just proposed (and been accepted) to his girlfriend, did just this.

Quote:
Had he proposed to me live on national television just as I was coming out of the Big Brother house having placed seventh, or just as he was being presented with the plastic Ashes trophy having captained England to victory over the upside down lot, I'd have told him to fuck off. Guys, don't do it.


He was originally going to propose in full public view of a bunch of friends at a New Year's Eve party, but I advised against it and for once in his life he listened to me. Phew.

 
tetsabb
1269221.  Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:28 pm Reply with quote

A former colleague told me of her cousin who took his young lady for a walk along the beach, to where he and his mates had dug out 'Will you marry me?" on the side of a sand dune.
She said "Yes"

 
DVD Smith
1269244.  Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:05 pm Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
DVD Smith wrote:
I'd never heard of this, but apparently it's quite common in Wales for a man to give a carved "lovespoon" to a girl he wishes to court/marry.


I'm mildly surprised to hear you were unaware of this custom, I thought it was pretty common knowledge. I went to Brecon museum once and saw an excellent display of such things. One of them was made in the form of a chain about six feet long, all carved from a single piece of wood.


Ha, just a blindspot in my knowledge I guess :) At least I can claim to be one of today's lucky 10,000.

 

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