Proposal and engagement – then and now
Nie było zaręczyn bez oświadczyn…
Proposal they solemnly inform the girl's parents about their intention to marry her. Jak się to odbywa? – mężczyzna w odświętnym stroju przychodzi do domu swej wybranki z kwiatami. He has a bouquet for his fiancée, the other for her mom.
A bouquet of red roses is reserved for the girl, for her mother – there are many possibilities, but it's best if she gets her favorites.
Some history – dawniej w Polsce był przestrzegany zwyczaj oficjalnego oświadczania się kawalerów rodzicom – przede wszystkim ojcu przyszłej wybranki. Była to oficjalnie wyrażona deklaracja poważnych uczuć i związanych z nimi zamiarów matrymonialnych młodego mężczyzny. Jak sama nazwa „oświadczyny” wskazuje, było to (i jest) oświadczenie woli wstąpienia w związek małżeński. A jeśli ojciec wybranki nie akceptował starającego się o rękę córki, to po oświadczynach częstował go znaną z „Pana Tadeusza” czarną polewką, która –jak wiadomo- expressed in a diplomatic manner her paternal disapproval of the intentions of the suitor. However, if the bachelor's proposal was accepted, preparations for the engagement party, i.e. today's engagement, began. Zrękowiny in old Poland usually ended property negotiations between the fathers of the maid and the bachelor. Prenuptials were written down, containing a declaration of marriage, the height of the dowry and the amount of the dowry - the sum, which her fiancé wrote down as security for the dowry.
Then there was a feast zaręczynową – zawsze w domy przyszłej panny młodej. Like today, it was an opportunity to get to know each other's families. The engagement itself, however, had its official one, the course is somewhat similar to that of the wedding. Polegały one na tying the hands of future brides nad bochnem chleba i pobłogosławieniu młodych przez rodziców ( nowadays the blessing is transferred to the moment before the young people go to church for the wedding ceremony). Then the bachelor and the maiden exchanged rings (today only the girl gets the ring). henceforth, the couple were officially considered brides (from the Old Polish "narzec" meaning- promise). It was also said, that the young are "after the word" that is, that they had given each other their word - a vow to marry. Only very good reasons could break the engagement. The young had to remain faithful to each other as if they were married. The state of marriage was so important, that if any of the fiancés died, the other had widow or widower status. Nowadays, the marriage proposal celebration has been swallowed up by the engagement party.
It is rare today to organize two separate celebrations (usually economic considerations are decisive, but also time), which of course doesn't, that marriage proposal and engagement are the same.
The engagement officially begins the engagement period, that is, direct preparations for the wedding. According to tradition, the wedding should take place within one year after the engagement; if not, an engagement is considered null and void. The Catholic Church recommends, that the solemn engagement meeting takes place at least six months before the wedding and is an opportunity for both families to get to know each other. At such a meeting the bridegrooms declare, that henceforth they will consider each other brides and intend to get married at the appointed time, if by getting to know each other they become convinced, that they can create a good and harmonious marriage. Then the parents or guardians of the young bless the engagement ring, which the fiance puts on the ring finger of his fiancée's right hand.
Nowadays, a girl receives an engagement ring on the occasion of a proposal, which are often organized by the boy as a surprise and a surprise. Many gentlemen decide to help companies that specialize in organizing an engagement like this, that they would be a special and unforgettable moment for the chosen one.