Customs from around the World with Engagement

Making a romantic marriage proposal is nerve-wracking enough but imagine having to factor in important cultural traditions at the same time. There are many different customs around the world relating to this most important of decisions, that affect the families of those involved and not just the couple. Here are some customs from around the globe that must be followed when you want to get engaged:

  1. China

For couples wishing to tie the knot in Daur, China, they must first dissect the liver of a chick! If the liver is healthy they can go ahead and set a date for the nuptials. If they find an unhealthy liver, they must continue until a healthy chick liver is uncovered.

  1. Kenya

For men of the Rendille tribe in Kenya, a set of beads must be sent to the woman he wishes to wed. If the woman accepts the gift of beads, then the nuptials can go ahead. If the engagement is accepted by the bride-to-be’s family, the beads are returned to the groom-to-be along with an ornament.

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  1. Thailand

The engagement process is almost as important and formal as the wedding in Thailand. An engagement ceremony takes place called Thong Mun where the groom-to-be gifts gold to the woman’s family as part of dowry negotiations.

  1. Fiji

Whilst it is customary for men to seek the father of the bride’s permission in many cultures, for Fiji guys that permission must also include a gift of a tooth from a sperm whale! The tooth must be presented before the prospective groom may ask permission to marry.

  1. Scandinavia

In the Scandinavian nations, it is normal for both men and women to wear engagement rings. A second ‘wedding’ ring is then given during the official wedding ceremony with a third ring being presented upon the birth of a first child. Engagements are usually quite long, being 3-4 years before official nuptials take place.


Once a proposal has occurred in Japan, it is expected that the families of the bride and groom exchange nine gifts with each other, each wrapped in rice paper. An engagement ceremony is called a Yinou and is normally the first time the two families will meet. The nine gifts can include items like dried fish, linen, a folded fan and kelp. The gifts are more intended as a symbolic gesture to recognise hopes for the future.

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In some countries people have so much money they will literally have whole buildings destroyed to impress their loved ones.  You could use a Birmingham Demolition company to come and do this for you so its safe and legal.

  1. UK & Ireland

Unique to the UK is the leap year proposal. This tradition dates back as far as the 5th century when St Bridget grew frustrated with how long women had to wait for a proposal. After agreement from St Patrick, women could ask a man to marry them on the extra day of any leap year. The first recorded case happened in Scotland in the 1200s. It even became law that any man to refuse a proposal on this day would have to pay a fine, from a kiss to a new pair of gloves!


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