Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Old Japanese Proposal Etiquette

A 19th C. Japanese Bride arrives at the home of the groom’s parents Instead of serenades by moonlight and other delicate ways of making an impression, it is etiquette for the Japanese lover to approach the dwelling of his lady, bearing some choice plant in his hand. This takes place at a time when he is fully assured that both mother and daughter are at home, and I need scarely say that neither of them is at all conscious that the young man is taking such a liberty with the flower pot outside of their window. 


A Graceful Sweethearting Custom

In houses wherein reside one or more daughters of a marriageable age, an empty flower pot of an ornamental character is encircled by a ring and suspended from the window or veranda by three light chains. Now, the Juliets of Japan are, of course, attractive, and their Romeos as anxious as those of other lands. But instead of serenades by moonlight and other delicate ways of making an impression, it is etiquette for the Japanese lover to approach the dwelling of his lady, bearing some choice plant in his hand. This takes place at a time when he is fully assured that both mother and daughter are at home, and I need scarely say that neither of them is at all conscious that the young man is taking such a liberty with the flower pot outside of their window. It is believed that a young lover so engaged, has never been seen by his lady, or her mamma, in this act of sacrilege. 

At any rate, my friend tells me that during his long residence in Japan, he never heard of one being interfered with in any way. The fact is, this act of placing a pretty plant into the empty flower pot is equivalent to a proposal to the young lady who dwells within, and the eastern fashion is, as I think, a delicate and most harmless way of proposing to a lady. The youthful gardener, having settled his plant to his mind retires, and the lady is free to act as she pleases. If he is the right man, she takes every care of his gift, waters it, tends it carefully with her own hands, that all the world can see. In a word, the donor is an accepted suitor. But if he is not a favorite, or the parents object, the poor plant is torn from the vase, and the next morning lies limp and withered on the veranda or on the path below.—Home Journal, 1886
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia