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Part 2 of 4: Engagement Traditions & Customs
Continued from part 1
* Do arranged marriages still take place in Italy?
* Are there any special traditions that take place when a man proposes to a woman?
* Does the man give a woman a diamond ring when he proposes?
For Italians the ring is the symbol of engagement. The ring signifies promise, gift and dedication. It is worn on the left hand. In the past this highly symbolic object was connected to many local traditions, which are partially (seldom) still practiced and go back to ancient symbolisms. Some local traditions are still alive like, for instance, in Bolzano and Alto Adige at the borders with Austria, where the engagement ring in golden silver represents an ancient romantic image: two hands holding a heart, a crown or a flame. The ancient Umbrian ring in silver, going back to the XV century, is characterized by an engraving representing a woman facing a man to symbolize the future spouses with a flower bouquet in the middle. In the inner side of the ring the words “Amore vole vole fe” (love flies and wants love) are engraved, decreeing the uniqueness of their love and of the beloved.
Traditionally if the man's family owns a ring, they leave the ring to their son who will give it to his fiancée as a symbol of love and to welcome the bride into the new family.
* Does the bride and groom have a bachelorette or bachelor party before there marriage?
* Do the families of the bride and groom do anything for the engagement?
* Are there any other traditions that take place before the wedding?
* Do engagement traditions vary throughout Italy? Are there different traditions in the south as opposed to the north?
A tradition which was very strong and common in the past refers to the wedding trousseau offered by the bride's family. Wedding trousseau included embroidered bed and table linens, towels, silk nightgowns, etc. There were also precise rules on quantity. Now this tradition has changed as modern brides don't want embroidered linen any longer but more practical things. However this tradition is still rather practiced in the South and in some areas of the Central South. In middle-class families it is still common to give their daughter all the linen belonging to her mother or her grandmother.
Part 1: Italian Weddings Introduction
Part 2: Engagement Traditions & Customs
Part 3: Wedding/Mass Traditions & Customs
Part 4: Reception Traditions & Customs
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