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Proposal Customs From Around the World

Proposal Customs  World

Although the modern Western custom of a man proposing to a woman with a diamond ring is practiced around the world, many regions and cultures practice proposal customs that that use a different approach.

Here are some proposal customs from around the world:

Nowadays, flash mob proposals are more popular in Asian countries than in any other region in the world.

In Chinese culture, a wedding symbolizes the joining of two families, not simply the joining of a couple. Today, many proposals in China follow the Western tradition of presenting the woman with a diamond ring. There are still many traditional elements incorporated into Chinese proposals, however, such as the woman taking the man to meet her family, and the man seeking the favor of the woman’s family before proposing. After a man proposes to a woman, it is common that the two families officially acknowledge the event and give their blessing.

India and Pakistan
In Indian and Pakistani proposal customs, the family of bridegroom makes a formal proposal to the family of the bride. In very traditional circles, the couple themselves are not involved in the process at all. In Pakistan, if the bride’s family accepts the proposal from the bridegroom’s family, a special engagement party usually takes place where the groom-to-be proposes to the bride-to-be. Arranged marriages are still very common in India and Pakistan.

In Thailand, many traditional engagement and wedding customs are still followed today. Tradition holds that a couple’s engagement is marked by a ceremony known as “Thong Mun” in which the prospective groom gives gold to his prospective bride’s family.  Gold, and not a diamond ring, is the preferred proposal currency,  and dowry negotiations are usually part of the proposal process.


Great Britain
In the UK, men generally propose in a traditional manner, on their knees while presenting a woman with a ring. Engagement rings are generally worn on the third finger of the left hand (vs. the fourth finger in the USA).

Traditionally, February 29 (which occurs once every fourth year, on a leap year) is the only day when a woman can propose to her partner in the UK and Ireland. Of course this tradition is seldom followed anymore.

In British tradition, a formal notice called “the banns” is placed in a church announcing a wedding date. The purpose of “the banns” is to give advance notice to anyone to present their case as to why the couple should not get married, for legal or other reasons.

Most weddings in Britain take place on Saturday. In the past, Wednesdays were considered the luckiest day to get married.

Germany and Sweden
During the engagement period, both the bride and groom typically wear a ring on their left hands (in the USA, the groom generally only wears a ring on his wedding day and thereafter).

Many modern-day weddings in Ghana  often include a classic African tradition of a knock on the door during the proposal stage, in which the groom’s uncle and mother visit the woman’s family to propose marriage in the groom’s behalf.

Tribal Kenya
In some tribes in Kenya, a man will send beads to a woman he is interested in marrying. If the woman keeps the beads, it means she has accepted the proposal; the woman’s family will give her an ornament to add to her beads if they accept the engagement.


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