Okay I am a bit of a nut about all things wedding. I like reading and learning where wedding traditions came from and how their roots got started. So I thought I would research some of the things I thought I knew and see if I was right. Its funny how many diffrent versions there are on the origin of some traditions. While some are very straight forward. So I can't say with scholarly wisdom that these are 100% correct but I will say they are popular explinations. I think that some traditions were started in multiple cultures. That brings the variations to light. Lets start with rings and engagements for this post.
Engagement Rings- This is an Anglo Saxon base. It was a symbol of promised love. The circular band with no begining or end was a symbol of eternal love. The addition of the diamond later stood for the streanth to last through the ages.
The Wedding Band- We go back to Egypt for this one. Egyption men gave their brides a circle of hemp or rush to show others their status.
Wearing the ring on the third finger- this has several theoretical explanations. One says it dates back to the 17th century. Presumably, at Christian weddings, the priest touched the three fingers on the left hand, while reciting "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Another theory claims the custom dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was believed that the "ring finger" followed the vena amoris (vein of love), which runs from this finger directly to the heart.
The ring pillow- this has its origin with the pillow that traditionally carried the coronation crown for royalty. The tradition has evolved as a symbolic way to prominently present the most precious of gifts. I am still looking for why we decided a small boy should carry this and be responsible for this precios gift.
Proposing on one knee-this is from back in the days of knighthood and chivalry when it was customary for a knight to dip his knee in a show of servitude to his mistress and his master. The knight would kneel before before a tournament and wait for "his" lady to toss him her ribbon or colors, as an indication of her favor.
Women proposing on leap year-This special privilege given to women on the 29th of February dates back hundreds of years to when the leap year day was not recognized in English law. The day was simply "leaped over" and ignored. Hence the expression "leap year." Since the day had no legal status, one could assume that standing traditions could be broken. Many unmarried women took advantage of this glitch in the law by proposing to the man they wished to marry.
Still looking up the tradition of putting the engagement ring in food for a proposal. I have found things about it for bridesmaids and a glass ring but not the engagement ring. I will keep looking.