Our Engagement and Betrothal Prayer

Encyclopedia Judaica: Betrothal

Our Engagement and Betrothal Prayer

BETROTHAL (Heb. שִׁדּוּכִין, shiddukhin).

Definition

In Jewish law shiddukhin is defined as the mutual promise between a man and a woman to contract a marriage at some future time and the formulations of the terms (tena'im, see below) on which it shall take place. In general parlance, as opposed to legal terminology, it is known as erusin (Kid. 63a, Tos.

), which is in fact part of the marriage ceremony proper (see *Marriage, Ceremony of). The concept of shiddukhin can entail either a promise by the intending parties themselves or one made by their respective parents or other relatives on their behalf (Kid. 9b; Sh. Ar., eh 50:4–6 and 51).

The sages regarded kiddushin (consecration; see *Marriage ) without prior shiddukhin as licentiousness and prescribed that «he who enters into a marriage without shiddukhin is liable to be flogged» (TJ, Kid. 3:10, 64b; TB, Kid. 12b; Maim. Yad, Ishut, 3:22 and Issurei Bi'ah, 21:14; Sh. Ar., EH 26:4).

Shiddukhin as such has no immediate effect on the personal status of the parties – it being only a promise to create a different personal status in the future (Resp. Rosh 34:1; Beit Yosef EH 55).

Nor does the promise give either party the right to claim specific performance from the other – since a marriage celebrated in pursuance of a judgment requiring the defendant to marry the plaintiff is repugnant to the basic principle that a marriage requires the free will and consent of both the parties thereto.

Gifts

(Heb. סִבְלוֹנוֹת, sivlonot). The Talmud (Kid.

50b) discusses the question whether the bride's acceptance of gifts from her bridegroom is to be regarded as an indication that kiddushin has already been celebrated between them – thus making it necessary for her to receive a divorce, on the grounds of «doubt,» in the event she does not marry him and wishes to marry someone else.

The halakhah was to the effect that the matter be left dependent on local custom so that any «doubt» as to whether or not kiddushin had already taken place would depend on whether or not there was any custom in the particular place where the parties resided to send such gifts before or after kiddushin.

From the time that it became the general custom for parties to initiate their intended ties with each other by way of shiddukhin (when the bridegroom would send gifts to his bride) and for the kiddushin and nissu'in (the marriage proper; see *Marriage ) to take place simultaneously at a later date, there would usually be no opportunity for the bridegroom to send such gifts to the bride after the kiddushin but before the nissu'in, so the halakhah was then to the effect that the giving of gifts per se implied no suspicion of kiddushin as mentioned above (Sh. Ar., eh 45:2; Arukh ha-Shulḥan EH 45:16–18. See also *Minhag .

Tena'im

(Heb. תְּנָאִים, «conditions»). It is customary, but not generally or necessarily so, for the tena'im, or conditions of the shiddukhin, to be reduced to writing – whereby such matters would be prescribed as the date and place of the proposed marriage, the financial obligations of the parties, i.e.

, the *dowry (Heb. נְדֻנְיָה, nedunyah) to be brought by the bride, or the period for which her father undertakes to provide for the couple.

All such obligations undertaken at the time of the shiddukhin are valid and binding, even without a formal or symbolic kinyan (see Modes of *Acquisition ), as obligations of this nature are «in these matters effected by mere verbal arrangement» (Ket. 102a; Kid. 9b; See also *Contract ).

It is also customary to stipulate a sum of money as a penalty to be paid in the event of a breach of promise without good cause.

In the Talmud such written instruments are termed shetarei pesikta – abbreviated by the posekim to «shetarei» or «tena'ei shiddukhin» or simply «tena'im» (Rashi, ad loc.; Sh. Ar., eh 51: Arukh ha-Shulḥan, EH 51:13; see also forms: A.A. Rudner Mishpetei Ishut, 178f, and Gulak, OẒar 1–19 (nos. 1–4), 362 (no. 403); see also *Shetar ).

CONSEQUENCES OF BREACH

The party committing a breach of promise, i.e.

, by not marrying the other party, may be liable to compensate the other party for any actual damage sustained, such as the expenses of the preparations for the marriage, and may also be obliged to return the gifts he received on the occasion of the shiddukhin, whether from the other party or from relatives and friends (Sh. Ar., EH 50:3–4; Resp.

Rosh, 35:8; Arukh ha-Shulḥan, EH 50:20).

The offending party may further be liable to pay the penalty stipulated in the tena'im – or, if not so stipulated, such amount as a court may determine as proper in the circumstances – having particular regard to the degree of mental suffering, shame, and public degradation suffered by the other party as a result of the breach of promise (Tos.

to BM 66a; Sh. Ar., EH, 50:3–4; Ba'er Heitev 15).

In cases where the sum stipulated in the tena'im to be paid by way of compensation exceeds the value of the actual damage caused, so as to make it a real penalty, the posekim debate the legal validity of such a condition on the grounds that the promise is tainted with *asmakhta , i.e.

, that a promise to pay such a sum by way of compensation might possibly not have been meant seriously, since both parties would have been at the time so certain and confident of fulfilling their respective commitments.

Some of the authorities, mainly Ashkenazi, took the view that the law requiring one who shamed another to compensate the latter should be strictly applied in these cases as well, and that the plea of asmakhta avails only if the stipulated sum is a highly exaggerated one (Tos. to BM 66a and to Kid. 8b; Resp.

Rosh 34:2,4; Rema EH 50:6 and Beit Shemu'el, ibid.; Arukh ha-Shulḥan, EH 50:21f.; Rema ḤM 207:16 and Siftei Kohen, ibid.). Other sages, primarily Sephardi, held that the plea of asmakhta would avail the offending party even in a breach of promise case involving shiddukhin (Maim. Yad, Mekhir 11:18; Sh. Ar., ḤM 207:16; Beit Yosef EH 50; see also PDR 3:131–154). In order to avoid any doubts, however, in the Middle Ages the Sephardi authorities introduced the practice of two separate agreements between the parties – one whereby each party unconditionally undertook to pay to the other a fixed sum in the event of breach of promise and another whereby each party released the other from the former undertaking upon the fulfillment of all the obligations stipulated in the tena'im (Sh. Ar., ḤM, ibid., and EH 50:6; Resp. Maharit, 131). Even if the tena'im had not been reduced to writing the court would adjudge the offending party to pay such compensation as may seem proper in the circumstances, having regard to the standing of the parties, provided the terms of the shiddukhin had been evidenced by kinyan between the parties.

DEFENSES AGAINST LIABILITY

Any justifiable reason for withdrawing from the shiddukhin is a valid defense to a claim for compensation.

Since the matter in issue is a promise to marry, involving a personal tie between the parties, the court will tend to regard any ground for not entering the marriage as reasonably justified, even if it is not directly attributable to the defendant.

For example, if the tena'im were agreed by the parents and subsequently the son or the daughter involved refused to accept them, such refusal would be regarded as justified and would not involve him or her in any liability (Resp. Rosh 34:1; Tur and Sh. Ar., eh 50:5, Arukh ha-Shulḥan, EH 50:29; pdr 5, 322–9).

However, if the grounds on which the defendant bases his withdrawal were known to him prior to the shiddukhin or if they became known to him thereafter and he did not immediately withdraw, he will be regarded as having waived his objections and such grounds will not later avail him as a defense.

Validity of the Tena'im after Marriage (Nissu'in)

Noncompliance with the terms of the tena'im after the marriage has taken place does not exempt the parties from the duties imposed on them by law vis-à-vis each other as husband and wife.

Thus, the husband is not absolved from his duty to maintain and provide a home for his wife because she or her parents may have failed to honor their undertaking to provide a home for the couple – the husband's duty being imposed on him by law (see *Marriage ) and being unconnected with any rights deriving from the shiddukhin (Bayit Ḥadash EH 52; Rema EH 52:1, and Ba'er Heitev 5). On the other hand, the existence of the marriage is not necessarily to be regarded as constituting a waiver and cancellation of the obligations created by the shiddukhin. In order to avoid such a contention, it is customary for the parties to draw up «secondary» or «new» tena'im at the time of the kiddushin, whereby they reaffirm the original tena'im – or else stipulate specifically in the *ketubbah that the marriage is the terms of the original tena'im; the latter form being the customary procedure in the ketubbah adopted in the State of Israel (A.A. Rudner, Mishpetei Ishut, 179). Such procedures provide either party with a clear cause of action for claiming the specific performance of all obligations undertaken in the tena'im after the marriage has taken place. According to some posekim, there is no need for the original tena'im to be specifically recalled at the time of the kiddushin – as it is presumed that the kiddushin was entered upon in accordance with the terms of such tena'im (PDR 1:289–313; 4:193–9, 289–304).

Customs

The ceremony and the writing of the agreement is called in Yiddish teno'im shrayben. The term knas-mahl («penalty meal») was also used because of the penalty (usually 50% of the promised dowry) stipulated in the document to be paid by the party guilty of breach of the promise to marry (Sh. Ar., EH 51).

Though of secondary importance from an halakhic point of view, the «betrothal» remains a significant ceremony in marriage arrangements. According to *Elijah b. Solomon , the Gaon of Vilna, a bridegroom, rather than break the engagement, should marry and then divorce his bride. In certain Jewish circles, a marriage is not contracted with a person who was a party to a broken engagement.

Among the Oriental Jews, the engagement ceremony is a very elaborate affair. Kurdish Jews had the custom of hatlabba («bidding the bride») and those of *Djerba indulged in great festivities. After the engagement, bride and bridegroom would exchange presents, and on Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot, the groom would send his bride clothing, jewelry, and choice fruits.

Similarly among Ashkenazi Jews, as sivlonot the groom usually sent the bride clothing or jewelry, and she reciprocated with a new tallit or a richly embroidered tallit bag she had made herself. At the Ashkenazi tena'im ceremony, it is customary to break a plate; the act is parallel to the crushing of the glass at the wedding ceremony.

Buechler, in: Festschrift… Lewy (1911), 110–44; Gulak, Yesodei, 2 (1922), 82; 3 (1922), 14–19, 22, 29, 45; Gulak, Oẓar, 1–19 (nos. 1–14), 362 (no. 403); idem, in: Tarbiz, 3 (1931–32), 361–76; 5 (1933–34), 126–33, Herzog, Instit, 1 (1936), index; Ch. Albeck, in: Kove… M.

Schorr (1944), 12–24; ET, 2 (1949), 114; 6 (1954), 610; 7 (1956), 138–49; PD 12:1121–204; 16:2737–40; B. Schereschewsky, Dinei Mishpaḥah (19672), 22–31; idem, Kenas u-Fiẓẓuyim Ekev Hafarat Ḥozim le-fi Dinei Yisrael (1960); B.

Cohen, in: PAAJR, 18 (1949), 67–135; republished in his Jewish and Roman Law, 1 (1966), 279–347, addenda 777–80; H. Schauss, The Lifetime of a Jew (1950), 129–31, 150–2, 158–61, 165–9, 182–6; Elon, Mafteaḥ, 326ff. M. Elon.

Ha-Mishpat Ha-Ivri (1988) 1: 371, 438, 533, 633: idem, Jewish Law (1994) 1, 449, 2: 535, 648, 784-5. ADD BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Lipshitz, «Matanah Leḥud, Bein Kinyan le-Hitḥayvut,» in: Dinei Yisrael, 12, (1984), 125.

[Ben-Zion (Benno) Schereschewsky]

Источник: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/betrothal-jewish-virtual-library

World Heritage Encyclopedia

Our Engagement and Betrothal Prayer
Engaged, Betrothed, Affiance, Fiancé, and Fiancée redirect here. For other uses, see Engaged (disambiguation), Betrothed (disambiguation), Affiance (band), and Fiancé (disambiguation).For other uses, see Engagement (disambiguation).

An engagement or betrothal is a promise to marry, and also the period of time between proposal and marriage – which may be lengthy or trivial. During this period, a couple is said to be betrothed,affianced, engaged to be married, or simply engaged.

Future brides and grooms may be called the betrothed, a wife-to-be or husband-to-be, fiancée or fiancé, respectively (from the French word fiancer). The duration of the courtship varies vastly.

Long engagements were once common in formal arranged marriages and it was not uncommon for parents betrothing children to arrange such many years before the engaged couple were old enough to marry.

Origin

The origins of European engagement in marriage practice is found in the Jewish law (Torah), first exemplified by Abraham, and outlined in the last Talmudic tractate of the Nashim (Women) order, where marriage consists of two separate acts, called erusin (or kiddushin, meaning sanctification), which is the betrothal ceremony, and nissu'in or chupah,[1] the actual ceremony for the marriage. Erusin changes the couple's interpersonal status, while nissu'in brings about the legal consequences of the change of status. (However, in the Talmud and other sources of Jewish law there is also a process, called shidduchin, corresponding to what today is called engagement. Marrying without such an agreement is considered immoral.[2] To complicate matters,erusin in modern Hebrew means engagement, not betrothal.)

This was later adopted in Ancient Greece as the gamos and engeysis rituals, although un in Judaism the contract made in front of witness was only verbal.[3] The giving of a ring was eventually borrowed from Judaism by Roman marriage law, with the fiancé presenting it after swearing the oath of marriage intent, and presenting of the gifts at the engagement party.[4]

Betrothal

Betrothal (also called espousal) is a formal state of engagement to be married.

In Jewish weddings during Talmudic times (c.1st century BC – 6th century AD), the two ceremonies of betrothal (erusin) and wedding usually took place up to a year apart; the bride lived with her parents until the actual marriage ceremony (nissuin), which would take place in a room or tent that the groom had set up for her.

Since the Middle Ages the two ceremonies have taken place as a combined ceremony performed in public. The betrothal is now generally part of the Jewish wedding ceremony, accomplished when the groom gives the bride the ring or another object of at least nominal value.

[5] As mentioned above, betrothal in Judaism is separate from engagement; breaking a betrothal requires a formal divorce, and violation of betrothal is considered adultery.

Typical steps of a match were the following:

  • Negotiation of a match, usually done by the couple's families with bride and groom having varying levels of input, from no input, to veto power, to a fuller voice in the selection of marriage partner.
    • This is not as widely practiced as it was historically, although it is still common in culturally conservative communities in Israel, India, Africa, and Persian Gulf countries, although most of these have a requirement that the bride be at least allowed veto power.
  • Negotiation of bride price or dowry
    • In most cultures evolved from Europe, bride prices or dowries have been reduced to the engagement ring accompanying the marriage contract, while in other cultures, such as those on the Arabian Peninsula, they are still part of negotiating a marriage contract.
  • Blessing by the parents and clergy
  • Exchange of Vows and Signing of Contracts
    • Often one of these is omitted
  • Celebration

The exact duration of a betrothal varies according to culture and the participants’ needs and wishes.

For adults, it may be anywhere from several hours (when the betrothal is incorporated into the wedding day itself) to a period of several years. A year and a day are common in neo-pagan groups today.

In the case of child marriage, betrothal might last from infancy until the age of marriage.

The responsibilities and privileges of betrothal vary. In most cultures, the betrothed couple is expected to spend much time together, learning about each other. In some historical cultures (including colonial North America), the betrothal was essentially a trial marriage, with marriage only being required in cases of conception of a child.

In almost all cultures there is a loosening of restrictions against physical contact between partners, even in cultures which would normally otherwise have strong prohibitions against it.

The betrothal period was also considered to be a preparatory time, in which the groom would build a house, start a business or otherwise prove his readiness to enter adult society.

In medieval Europe, in canon law, a betrothal could be formed by the exchange of vows in the future tense («I will take you as my wife/husband,» instead of «I take you as my wife/husband»), but sexual intercourse consummated the vows, making a binding marriage rather than a betrothal.

Although these betrothals could be concluded with only the vows spoken by the couple, they had legal implications: Richard III of England had his older brother's children declared illegitimate on the grounds their father had been betrothed to another woman when he married their mother.

A betrothal is considered to be a 'semi-binding' contract. Normal reasons for invalidation of a betrothal include:

  • Revelation of a prior commitment or marriage,
  • Evidence of infidelity,
  • Failure to conceive (in 'trial marriage' cultures),
  • Failure of either party to meet the financial and property stipulations of the betrothal contract.

Normally a betrothal can also be broken at the behest of either party, though some financial penalty (such as forfeit of the bride price) usually will apply.

Orthodox Church

In the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches, the Rite of Betrothal will traditionally be performed in the narthex (entranceway) of the church, to indicate the couple's first entrance into the married estate. The priest will bless the couple and give them lit candles to hold.

Then, after a litany, and a prayer at which everyone bows, he places the bride's ring on the ring finger of the groom's right hand, and the groom's ring on the bride's finger. The rings are then exchanged three times, either by the priest or by the best man, after which the priest says a final prayer.

Originally, the betrothal service would take place at the time the engagement was announced. In recent times, however, it tends to be performed immediately before the wedding ceremony itself. The exchange of rings is not a part of the wedding service in the Eastern Churches, but only occurs at the betrothal.

Traditionally, the groom's ring is gold and the bride's ring is silver.[6]

Catholic Church

Historically betrothal in Catholicism was a formal contract considered as binding as marriage, and a divorce was necessary to terminate a betrothal.[7] Betrothed couples were regarded legally as husband and wife – even before their wedding and physical union.

The concept of an official engagement period in Western European culture may have begun in 1215 at the Fourth Lateran Council, headed by Pope Innocent III, which decreed that «marriages are to be … announced publicly in the churches by the priests during a suitable and fixed time, so that if legitimate impediments exist, they may be made known.

«[8][9] Such a formal church announcement of the intent to marry is known as banns. In some jurisdictions, reading the banns may be part of one type of legal marriage.

Engagement rings

Customs for engagement rings vary according to time, place, and culture. An engagement ring has historically been uncommon, and when such a gift was given, it was separate from the wedding ring.

The tradition of giving a ring for marriage engagement originated from Judaism that was originally a golden nose ring (Chayei Sarah 24:22) given by Eliezer of Damascus to Rebecca,[10] with Saadiah Gaon also citing as a possible source of the practice in the phrase in Nehemiah 7:46 be’nei tabbaot (children of the rings). The latter case refers to betrothal (see above) rather than engagement; one of the three ways in which betrothal may be accomplished in Judaism is by the husband giving the bride money or an object of at least nominal value. In fact, it is a long-standing practice within Judaism to contract the betrothal with a ring.

Romantic rings from the time of the Roman Empire sometimes bore clasped hands symbolizing contract,[11] from which the later Celtic Claddagh symbol (two hands clasping a heart) may have evolved as a symbol of love and commitment between two people.

Romans believed the circle was a bond between the two people who were to be married and signified eternity, but was first practiced on the fourth finger/ring finger by the Romans, who believed this finger to be the beginning of the vena amoris («vein of love»), the vein that leads to the heart.
[12] In cultures with European origin, and many other countries, an engagement ring is worn following the practice of the Romans who «…wore the ring either on the right middle finger or the left ring [4th] finger, from which, according to ancient Egyptian physicians, a nerve led directly to the heart.

«[12] The custom in Continental Europe and other countries is to wear it on the right hand.

One historical exception arose in monarchical regimes, in which a nobleman entering into morganatic marriage, a marriage in which the person, usually the woman, of lower rank stayed at the same rank instead of rising ranks, would present their left hand to receive the ring, hence the alternative term 'marriage with the left hand' (Ger. Ehe zur linken Hand), the offspring of such marriages considered to be disinherited from birth.[13]

The modern Western form of the practice of giving or exchanging engagement rings is traditionally thought to have begun in 1477 when Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring as an engagement present.[14]

In other countries Argentina, men and women each wear a ring similar to wedding bands. They are made of silver («alianza de plata») when manifesting an informal «boyfriend-girlfriend» relationship, though this first step might not always happen; howbeit depending on finances, this may be the only ring given at all.

The gold band («anillo de compromiso» or «alianza de oro») is given to the bride when the commitment is formal and the [optional] diamond ring («cintillo») is reserved for the wedding ceremony when the groom gives it to the bride.

The gold band that the groom wore during the engagement – or a new one, as some men choose not to wear them during engagement – is then given to the groom by the bride; and the bride receives both the original gold band and the new diamond at the ceremony.

The bride's diamond ring is worn on top of the engagement band at the wedding and thereafter, especially at formal occasions or parties; otherwise the engagement band suffices for daily wear for both parties. At the wedding, the rings are swapped from the right to the left hand.

In Brazil, they are always made of gold, and there is no tradition for the engagement ring. Both men and women wear the wedding band on their right hand while engaged, and, after they marry, they shift the rings to their left hands. In Nordic countries such as Finland and Norway, both men and women wear an engagement ring.

In the modern era, some women's wedding rings are made into two separate pieces. One part is given to her to wear as an engagement ring when she accepts the marriage proposal and the other during the wedding ceremony. When worn together, the two rings look one piece of jewelry.

Engagement parties

Some engagements are announced at an engagement party, traditionally hosted by the bride's parents. These parties are given in the family's usual style of entertainment.

Traditionally, engagement parties were normal parties at which a surprise announcement of the engagement was made by the father of the bride to his guests.

Therefore, it is not a traditional gift-giving occasion since no guests were supposed to be aware of the engagement until after their arrival.

In modern times, engagement parties often celebrate a previously publicized engagement. Whether presents are given at these engagement parties varies from culture to culture.

Notes

Источник: http://www.worldheritage.org/articles/eng/Betrothal

Betrothal

Our Engagement and Betrothal Prayer
Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry depicting a betrothal

Betrothal is a formal state of engagement to be married. Historically betrothal was a formal contract, blessed or officiated by a religious authority.

Formal betrothal is no longer common beyond some Arab cultures, in Judaism, and in Hinduism. In Jewish weddings the betrothal is called קידושין (in modern Hebrew, קידושים) and is part of the Jewish wedding ceremony.

For most cultures, an «engagement» period takes place prior to the wedding ceremony, during which time the couple make preparations for their marriage. The start of the engagement is signified by the giving of an engagement ring by the man to the woman.

Wearing such a ring indicates to society that she has promised to marry, committing herself to her future spouse, but that they have not yet formalized their relationship in marriage. Un a formal betrothal, however, such an engagement is not legally binding, and the couple may «break off» their engagement with only emotional consequences.

Still, betrothal in whatever form it has developed in contemporary times maintains a significant and meaningful role.

Terminology

The word betrothal comes from the Old English treowðe meaning «truth, a pledge.»[1] The word is often used interchangeably with «engaged.

» Betrothal, however, often refers to agreements involving not only the couple but their families; the concept sometimes has a connotation of arranged marriage.

Furthermore, betrothals, though they can be broken, often have binding legal implications lacking in engagements.

Fiancé(e)

Classic «one-knee» proposal, ca. 1815

A man who is engaged to be married is called his partner's fiancé; a woman similarly engaged is called her partner's fiancée. These words are pronounced identically in English; the separate feminine form exists because of the inflectional morphology of grammatical gender in French, where the term originated.

Proposal

Engagement is most often initiated by a proposal of marriage, or simply a proposal. The proposal often has a ritual quality, involving the presentation of the engagement ring and a formalized asking of a question such as «Will you marry me?» In a heterosexual relationship, the man traditionally proposes to the woman, but this is no longer universal.

In Ireland, February 29 is said to be the one day (coming round only once every four years) when a woman can propose to her partner. In the United States, it is traditional to call friends and family members immediately after the proposal has been accepted.

Process

Typical steps of a betrothal were:

  • Selection of the bride
    • usually done by the couple's families, possibly involving a matchmaker, with bride and groom having little or no input,
    • this is no longer practiced except in some cultures (such as in Israel, India), and most of these have a requirement that the bride be allowed at least veto power
  • Negotiation of bride price or dowry
    • in modern practice these have been reduced to the symbolic engagement ring
  • Blessing by clergy
  • Exchange of Vows and Signing of Contracts
    • often one of these is omitted
  • Celebration

The exact duration of a betrothal varies according to culture and the participants’ needs and wishes. For adults, it may be anywhere from several hours (when the betrothal is incorporated into the wedding day itself) to a period of several years. A year and a day are common in neo-pagan groups today. In the case of child marriage, betrothal might last from infancy until the age of marriage.

The responsibilities and privileges of betrothal vary. In most cultures, the betrothed couple is expected to spend much time together, learning about each other. In some historical cultures (including colonial North America), the betrothal was essentially a trial marriage, with marriage only being required in cases of conception of a child.

In almost all cultures there is a loosening of restrictions against physical contact between partners, even in cultures which would normally otherwise have strong prohibitions against it.

The betrothal period was also considered to be a preparatory time, in which the groom would build a house, start a business, or otherwise prove his readiness to enter adult society.

In medieval Europe, in canon law, a betrothal could be formed by the exchange of vows in the future tense («I will take you as my wife/husband,» instead of «I take you as my wife/husband»), but sexual intercourse consummated the vows, making a binding marriage rather than a betrothal.

Although these betrothals could be concluded with only the vows spoken by the couple, they had legal implications; Richard III of England had his older brother's children declared illegitimate on the grounds their father had been betrothed to another woman when he married their mother.

A betrothal is considered to be a «semi-binding» contract. Normal reasons for invalidation of a betrothal include:

  • revelation of a prior commitment or marriage,
  • evidence of infidelity,
  • failure to conceive (in 'trial marriage' cultures),
  • failure of either party to meet the financial and property stipulations of the betrothal contract.

Normally a betrothal can also be broken at the behest of either party, though some financial penalty (such as forfeit of the bride price) usually will apply.

Orthodox churches

In the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches, the Rite of Betrothal is traditionally be performed in the narthex (entranceway) of the church, to indicate the couple's first entrance into the married estate. The priest blesses the couple and gives them lit candles to hold.

Then, after a litany, and a prayer at which everyone bows, he places the bride's ring on the ring finger of the groom's right hand, and the groom's ring on the bride's finger.

The rings are then exchanged three times, either by the priest or by the best man, after which the priest says a final prayer.

Originally, the betrothal service would take place at the time the engagement was announced. In recent times, however, it tends to be performed immediately before wedding ceremony itself. It should be noted that the exchange of rings is not a part of the wedding service in the Eastern Churches, but only occurs at the betrothal.

Judaism

In Judaism, the Mishna describes three ways of contracting betrothal (tractate Kiddushin 1:1):

  1. With money (as when a man hands a woman an object of value, such as a ring or a coin, for the purpose of contracted marriage, and in the presence of two witnesses, and she actively accepts);
  2. Through a shtar, a contract containing the betrothal declaration phrased as «through this contract»; or
  3. By sexual intercourse with the intention of creating a bond of marriage, a method strongly discouraged by the rabbinic sages and intended only for levirate marriages.

Today only the betrothal ceremony involving the object of value (the equivalent of «with money»), almost always a ring, is practiced, but the others may be fallen back upon should a halachic dispute occur.

As part of the marriage ceremony the woman accepts a ring (or something of value) from the man, accepting the terms of the marriage.

At the giving of the ring the groom makes a declaration «You are consecrated to me, through this ring, according to the religion of Moses and Israel.» Traditionally there is no verbal response on the part of the bride.

She accepts the ring on her finger, and closes her hand, signifying acceptance.

Traditions

William-Adolphe Bouguereau The Proposal

An engagement is an agreement or promise to marry, and also refers to the time between proposal and marriage. During this period, a couple is said to be affianced,engaged to be married, or simply engaged.

The engagement period

The concept of an engagement period may have begun in 1215 at the Fourth Lateran Council, headed by Pope Innocent III, which decreed that «marriages are to be …

announced publicly in the churches by the priests during a suitable and fixed time, so that if legitimate impediments exist, they may be made known.

«[2] The modern Western form of the practice of giving or exchanging engagement rings is traditionally thought to have begun in 1477 when Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring as an engagement present.[3]

Engagement parties

Some, but not all, engagements are honored with an engagement party, often hosted by the bride's parents.

It may be formal or informal, and is typically held between six months and a year before the wedding.

Traditionally, engagement parties allowed the bride's parents to announce the upcoming marriage to friends and families. Today, such an event can either be an announcement or simply a celebration.

Engagement rings

A woman displays her engagement ring.

In the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, an engagement ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand; the custom in Continental Europe and other countries is to wear it on the right hand.

This tradition is thought to be from the Romans, who believed this finger to be the beginning of the vena amoris («vein of love»), the vein that leads to the heart.

Romantic rings from the time of the Roman Empire and from as far back as 4 C.E. often resemble the Celtic Claddagh symbol (two hands clasping a heart) and so it is thought that this was used as some symbol of love and commitment between a man and a woman.

Handfasting

An example of a handfasting knot where each wedding guest has tied a ribbon around the clasped hands of the couple

Handfasting is a ritual in which the couple's clasped hands are tied together by a cord or ribbon—hence the phrase «tying the knot.» The tying of the hands may be done by the officiant of the ceremony, by the wedding guests, or by the couple themselves.

In Ireland and Scotland, during the early Christian period it was a form of trial marriage, often performed in rural areas when a priest was not available.

The couple could form a temporary, trial marriage, and then be married «in the Church» the next time a priest visited their area.

In some modern Neopagan groups, the ceremony has been reinterpreted to be a spiritual marriage, whether on a trial basis or as a permanent (even eternal) bond.

The tying together of the couple's hands was a part of the normal marriage ceremony in the time of the Roman Empire.
[4] In the sixteenth century, the English cleric Myles Coverdale wrote in The Christen State of Matrymonye, that in that day, handfasting was still in use in some places, but was then separate from the Christian wedding rite performed in a church several weeks after the consummation of the marriage, which had already begun with the handfasting ritual. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, handfasting was then sometimes treated as a probationary form of marriage.

One historical example of handfastings as trial marriages is that of «Telltown marriages»—named for the year and a day trial marriages contracted at the yearly festival held in Telltown, Ireland. The festival took place every year at Lughnasadh (August 1), and the trial marriage would last until the next Lughnasadh festival. At that time, they were free to leave the union if they desired.

Modern usage

Neopagan handfasting

In the present day, some Neopagans practice this ritual. The marriage vows taken may be for «a year and a day,» a lifetime, or «for all of eternity.» Whether the ceremony is legal, or a private spiritual commitment, is up to the couple.

Depending on the state where the handfasting is performed, and whether or not the officiant is a legally-recognized minister, the ceremony itself may be legally binding, or couples may choose to make it legal by also having a civil ceremony.

Modern handfastings are performed for heterosexual or homosexual couples, as well as for larger groups in the case of polyamorous relationships.

As with many Neopagan rituals, some groups may use historically attested forms of the ceremony, striving to be as traditional as possible, while others may use only the basic idea of handfasting and largely create a new ceremony.

As many different traditions of Neopaganism use some variation on the handfasting ceremony, there is no universal ritual form that is followed, and the elements included are generally up to the couple being handfasted.

In cases where the couple belong to a specific religious or cultural tradition, there may be a specific form of the ritual used by all or most members of that particular tradition.

The couple may conduct the ceremony themselves or may have an officiant perform the ceremony. In some traditions, the couple may jump over a broom at the end of the ceremony. Some may instead leap over a small fire together.

Today, some couples opt for a handfasting ceremony in place of, or incorporated into, their public wedding. As summer is the traditional time for handfastings, they are often held outdoors.

A corresponding divorce ceremony called a handparting is sometimes practiced, though this is also a modern innovation. In a Wiccan handparting, the couple may jump backwards over the broom before parting hands.

As with more conventional marriage ceremonies, couples often exchange rings during a handfasting, symbolizing their commitment to each other. Many couples choose rings that reflect their spiritual and cultural traditions, while others choose plainer, more conventional wedding rings.

References

  • Burkett, Larry. 1996. Money Before Marriage: A Financial Workbook for Engaged Couples. Moody Publishers. ISBN 0802463894
  • Macomb, Sussanna. 2002. Joining Hands and Hearts: Interfaith, Intercultural Wedding Celebrations—A Practical Guide for Couples. Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group. ISBN 0743436989
  • Yalomb, Marilyn. 2002. A History of the Wife. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0060931566

Источник: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Betrothal

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