As we all know, engagement is a promise of marriage between two people. More specifically, it refers to the period of time between the proposal and the actual marriage. Maybe, you will find it interesting to learn a little bit more about what engagement used to mean back in the past and when this tradition started.
In the past extremely long engagements used to be quite common because the parents would arrange for the marriage of their children while they were still young, usually several years under the matrimonial age. Nowadays, of course, the engagement is arranged by the couple themselves and it can be long or short, formal or informal.
It is believed that the concept of having an engagement period between the proposal and the marriage ceremony began after an announcement from Pope Innocent III in 1215. He declared at the Fourth Lateran Council that marriages should be announced officially by the priests of the churches for a predetermined amount of time. This was done because if there were any impediments or illegitimacies, they could be clarified and sorted out.
Rings were not initially a part of the engagement ritual’s, chains and bracelets were used to signify a strong relationship or bond with another person. However, the tradition of using the ring later evolved from that shape. People in Ancient Egypt were one of the first to use rings because they also symbolized the sacred moon and sun gods. The circular shape represented an eternal bond and the hole in the center of the ring stood for a doorway into the unknown.
Most cultures wear the ring on the fourth finger. The reason for that is the belief that it contains the vena amoris Latin for the vein of love. The vein of love is supposed to run directly from the ring finger to the heart. Nowadays, however, women decide for themselves where and how to wear their engagement rings.
Now you can see how much traditions have changed and evolved! Lastly, dont forget to check out Engagement Gifts section.