First stop is in Thailand! Thailand is a stunning country with rich tradition and culture, so of course they have a beautiful engagement ceremony. The ceremony is called Thong Mun, which translates to “giving of gold.” Instead of a diamond engagement ring the prospective groom will give gold to his fiancée. This can be in the form of a bracelet or necklace or just gold, but it is very important to impress the family. The better the gold piece the more you show how well you will take care of the bride to be which is important to the family. It is typically 96% pure gold that is made in Thailand and is measured in baht. The gold that is given equals to a minimum of two baht, which is just over 30 grams of gold. Once the prospective bride receives the engagement the other ceremonies, including a second dowery, begins.
By presenting a large gift to the bride’s family you are also showing them that you appreciate their daughter being raised well. It’s. A compliment to the family, so the more that is given in the dowry shows the bride’s family how thankful you are for them. There are also other factors in play when giving the dowery to the bride’s family. The future husband must take into consideration the status of the bride’s family. The education level and social status will greatly affect how much is expected to be given to the bride’s family. This dowry is also symbolic and will often be given back to the bride and future husband. This is also done during the wedding ceremony as well.
Next we travel over to Japan where there are more complex engagement traditions but they are filled with beautiful meaning. In traditional Japanese culture there is typically an arranged marriage. This is not as common anymore but the other ceremonies that surround a Japanese engagement are still practiced by modern day couples. The traditional Japanese engagement ceremony is called Yuino which happens after the man has proposed. This is when the two families of the bride and groom come together and celebrate with a series of feasts and an elaborate gift exchange of very culturally symbolic presents. Traditionally a member of the groom’s family would visit the bride’s family to make sure that the engagement was accepted, and then the bride’s family treated him to a feast to celebrate the news. Once the groom family finds out that the bride has accepted the engagement it is their turn to return the favor and invite the bride’s family to their abode where they throw another feast and there is an exchange of gifts
The next part is the official engagement ceremony where both families are together, either at the groom’s family house or in modern times a restaurant. It is customary for the groom and his parents to be able to enter the ceremonial room before everyone else. This is because they have the opportunity to rearrange the gifts so they are in order and are presentable. There are nine individual gifts that are given at the engagement ceremony, and each has a powerful meaning to the Japanese culture.
The nine gifts are Kinpou which is gift money which is typically a good amount because it shows the respect the groom has for the bride’s family and reflects his social status. Hakama is the skirt given to the groom, thus represents fidelity. Naganoshi is a clam shell, representing longevity. Shiraga which means white hair. It is a white thread of hemp, representing the wish that the couple should grow old and gray together. Konbu is dried kelp, representing healthy children. Surume is dried cuttlefish, representing the wish for a long marriage, but also is sustainable. This is to show they can make a living without missing a meal. Suehiro is a fan, representing a happy future. Katsuo-bushi is dried bonito, meaning virility. Yanagi-daru is a cash gift used to buy sake.
The Japanese traditions are beautiful and so meaningful. At Enchanting Engagements, we love to incorporate elements that are special to you and your loved one. If they are traditional to your culture, or just something you’ve developed throughout your time together, we will incorporate it in a creative and memorable way.