Italian Engagement Traditions
By: Liz Flynn
An engagement is an important celebration in the lives of a couple as they are promising to spend their lives together. Each culture a different way of celebrating the event and the Italians have their own customs and traditions.
In many parts of Italy, including the southern regions, it is still traditional for the groom to ask the permission of the bride’s father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. In other areas, couples take a more modern approach and get engaged first and make an announcement to their parents later.
Traditions in Northern Italy
For northern Italians, the focus is on the meeting of the parents rather than having a party. In the period leading to the wedding, the two families get to know each other.
Traditions in Southern Italy
The Italians in southern Italy take a rather different approach to an engagement as they view the event as much a celebration as the actual wedding. Historically, formal binding contracts were created and a dowry arranged. Now, there is no longer a dowry or a formal contract. Modern traditions include the giving of the engagement ring at the party followed by a kiss for good luck.
Like with most Italian events, the food is an important element of the celebrations. When the engagement is announced, the parents of the bride and groom must meet if they have not already done so on a previous occasion. A luncheon is usually arranged for this meeting.
Some couples arrange a party to celebrate their engagement. Men also enjoy the equivalent of a bachelor party after the engagement and before the wedding. This often includes a meal, drinking and gambling. Traditionally, Italian women had no such party. However, many do now choose to have a bachelorette party before their wedding.
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