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Thread: Germanic Courtship Rituals

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    Germanic Courtship Rituals

    Courtship rituals, like chivalry traditional families are becoming almost extinct in Germanic societies. Some consider dating as the modern version of courtship but others differentiate it because courtship was done with the intension of marriage while dating isn't always.

    Some questions: is courtship still practiced in your country or region? Was it practiced at some point? What about at least some elements of courtship, like asking parent's permission to date or marry?

    Share some rituals you know from your parents, grandparents or folklore.

    First, what is courtship? According to Wikipedia,

    Courtship is the period in a couple's relationship which precedes their engagement and marriage, or establishment of an agreed relationship of a more enduring kind. During courtship, a couple get to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement or other such agreement. A courtship may be an informal and private matter between two people or may be a public affair, or a formal arrangement with family approval. Traditionally, in the case of a formal engagement, it has been perceived that it is the role of a male to actively "court" or "woo" a female, thus encouraging her to understand him and her receptiveness to a proposal of marriage.
    I've gathered some information from multiple sources. Some rituals may seem strange, outdated or little bit crazy.

    In 19th-century rural Austria, young women do a ritual dance with apple slices lodged in their armpits. After the dance, each gives her slice to the man of her choice, and he then eats it.

    "Bundling" was once a common courting practice in northwestern Europe and Colonial America. With parental oversight, an adolescent boy and girl would stay the night together in the same bed, but tightly wrapped in separate blankets, sometimes with a "bundling board" placed between them. This setup permitted intimacy, but definitely not intercourse.

    Fine English gentlemen would offer their true love a pair of gloves. If she wore them to church on Sunday, it was her way of agreeing to the relationship.

    In Norway, when a girl became ready for marriage, her father would let men know she was available by placing an empty sheath on her belt. If a suitor fancied her, he would place a knife in the sheath, which would signal to others she was taken.

    Amish courtship is notoriously secretive. In some communities, fellow citizens don’t even know a wedding is in the works until the marriage is announced in church a few weeks before the big day. Amish sleuths can usually sniff out impending nuptials by poking around in a family’s garden, though: Hot creamed celery is a main dish at Amish wedding feasts, so if a family loads up its garden with stalks, they're probably getting ready to marry off one of their daughters.

    Eighteenth-century New England couples had a tricky problem when it came to exchanging tender words: they had zero privacy, and who wants to coo sweet nothings into his girl’s ear while her dad watches? Enter an ingenious invention called the courting stick or courting tube. This six-foot-long hollow tube allowed couples to exchange whispered words of affection from a safe distance while family members remained in the room to make sure there was nothing as salacious as hand-holding going on.

    In the earlier 1800s, young adults were expected to court with the intention of finding a marriage partner, rather than for social reasons. In more traditional forms of Christianity, this concept of courtship has been retained, with John Piper defining courtship and distinguishing this concept from dating, stating that:

    "Courtship ordinarily begins when a single man approaches a single woman by going through the woman's father, and then conducts his relationship with the woman under the authority of her father, family, or church, whichever is most appropriate. Courtship always has marriage as its direct goal...Dating, a more modern approach, begins when either the man or the woman initiates a more-than-friends relationship with the other, and then they conduct that relationship outside of any oversight or authority. Dating may or may not have marriage as its goal."
    Sources:
    http://www.livescience.com/33020-str...und-world.html
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/28950...s-around-world
    http://flavorwire.com/369990/strange...nd-the-world-2
    https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/ar...ituals/273071/

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    Here are a few more:

    Dating in Denmark can be tricky for foreigners who aren’t familiar with Scandinavian culture. It is said that Danes don’t date in a traditional way—they tend to skip the flirting phase and be very direct about their feelings. Danes’ directness has its advantages and its disadvantages. The good part is you almost always know what’s going on. If someone likes you, chances are you’ll know right from the beginning. Here, it is quite common for women to make the first move, a custom which could be attributed to the fact that Danish society has been built on an egalitarian model—everyone is considered equal. Danish boys are known to be shy in comparison to other countries’ and they aren’t very familiar with flirting. Taking someone out for dinner on the first date is quite common in other cultures, but Danes don’t appreciate it very much. There’s a risk of getting stuck on a table for hours with long awkward silences and an expensive bill at the end. Try to be more creative. You don’t have to come up with a crazy idea, but something more casual like a walk around the lakes or a picnic at the park (depending on yours and your date’s taste) may go down better.

    The first step of Swedish dating is don't be shy. Girls, if you're waiting around for that hot guy from class to ask you out, chances are that he won't. And it's not because he's not into you - it's because of gender equality. In Sweden, there is no reason why the girl shouldn't make the first move. But remember, the same thing applies for guys. If you like a Swedish girl, just go for it and ask her out. Regardless of gender, it's worth making the first move when trying to date a Swede - because they probably won't. As a girl, you should never expect the guy to pay. He might offer, but he might not. And guys, feel free to be gentlemanly and offer to pay for the girl - but if she says 'No thanks', she really means it. Do not insist on paying for a girl. One of the most important and most confusing things about dating in Sweden is that it's not dating. So don't call it a date.You can ask out a classmate for fika, but not a date. After you've had fika a couple of times you can move on to other activities. Maybe suggest cooking a meal together or going ice skating. Dinner and movie won't come until much later - but even then, call it dinner and a movie, not 'date'. Many cultures greet with a kiss of some manner, perhaps a kiss on the cheek. Honestly, that will creep a Swede out. Don't do it. But Swedes are huge fans of the awkward hug, where you lean in and wrap your arms around each other and then separate again. Each fika 'date' and activity should start and end with a hug. Don't move on from the hug until it's clear that it's more than fika, and that the feelings are mutual. Kissing is complicated.

    When it comes to Norwegian dating, women make the first move. To foreigners, Norwegian women often seem forward, and men quite timid (although they're probably just a bit more equal than elsewhere). Either way, Norwegian women might walk up to a man and say “I like you, call me”. Class stratification is rare in Norwegian social interaction and the culture instills the notion that mates should be chosen based on compatibility and with goals of equal partnership. While marriage remains popular, Norway has seen cultural acceptance of unmarried cohabitation and alternative lifestyles.

    Icelanders are not much into the whole “can I take you out for a first date“ in the formal matter of sitting down at a nice restaurant. Most say that this is just too much pressure. They like to have a drink together, buy ice cream or possibly take a stroll somewhere you aren’t likely to run into anyone. Being such a small country you are always likely to meet someone you know and when it’s just the first date and you aren’t sure about this you usually don’t want to run into anyone. So they keep it casual and prefer weird places where they are unlikely to meet anyone. Another common “first date” is grabbing hangover food the day after partying after meeting up downtown. Icelanders can be shy people and drinking seems to help a lot with this. It’s very common to maybe have chatted on any medium before meeting downtown for the first time and possibly going home together. This does not necessarily have to mean sex, just sharing a bed and the rest is totally up to you two.

    Dating in Germany is still more traditional than in the United States. A man is always expected to ask a woman for a date, never the reverse. The man pays for the date and if the girl is still living with her parents, the man brings flowers to her mother. German women do flirt and leave hints to their men of interest. Many short-term relationships occur in the twenty-something years of Germans, instead of long-term American-type relationships with one person. Germans marry at an older age than do most Americans and German men tend to take younger wives. But young German men do tend to date older women to gain valuable experience.

    Dating in Austria is also reserved and conservative. Austrians tend to be shy and not that good at flirting. Katia Farias, a Brazilian journalist and blogger who lives in Vienna and has been married to an Austrian for five years says he is “funny, loyal, and kind” but warns that it may take some perseverance to snag your Austrian man as they are hopeless at flirting and tend to give off an “I’m not interested” signal. But once you’ve met your Austrian, it seems they won’t be embarrassed about kissing and cuddling you in public. (And this can seem a little strange, or wonderful, to people from more reserved cultures, like the UK, where excessive PDA tends to be frowned upon.) Austrians tend to be well-educated and polite - and men like to be chivalrous, holding open doors for a woman and helping her with her coat. Most guys will want to pay for dinner on the first date... but take your purse with you just in case.

    In most online forums, you'll read how the Swiss like to take it slow. Swiss women and men are not reknown for being the most chatty, outgoing or spontaneous when meeting strangers for the first time. They tend to be quiet and discreet, which also means you shouldn't spill your most intimate stories on the first encounter or ask probing questions about their job or family. The Swiss tend to like their personal space and a handshake is common when strangers meet for the first time. Acquaintances, however, will go in for a cheek kiss – typically three kisses. Personal space continues into Swiss relationships, where a blend between commitment and independence is expected even early on; you might be exclusive, but this doesn't mean you will see each other often. It is also not common to date several people as once, where intimacy generally means a committed relationship, although this isn't always the case. Punctuality is vital in Switzerland, where it's common for the Swiss to turn up even 15 minutes early. Being late to a date is a big turn-off to Swiss men and women; this also means being ready in advance if you're getting picked up – you can expect your date to be on your doorstep early.

    Both Dutch women and Dutch men are renowned for being straight-forward in conversation, and little social negativity is attached to asking personal questions or openly stating one's unsolicited opinion in the Netherlands. The Dutch tend to believe it is better to be honest than mislead someone. To the untrained dater it may appear rude or direct but it is a refreshing scene of playing with your cards on the table. Being successful in Dutch dating can require a level of assertiveness: if you want something, just do it. The Netherlands has less of a dating culture than other countries, for example the US or UK. There are less ‘rules’ about when to call back, kiss or spend the night, and actions are based more on instinct rather than an unwritten play book. Playing hard-to-get and silly games have little value in the Netherlands but confidence and being to-the-point rank high. Of course, you might get a flat-out rejection but you won't waste your time where it's not appreciated. Chivalry has dissipated into the form of fairness. It is not uncommon to split the bill on the first date – right down to the last cent's worth of what you ate – regardless of whether your're dating a Dutch man or woman. This shouldn't come as a surprise considering you are in the country that gave name to the phrase 'going Dutch' (splitting a bill).

    Belgians are known for being reserved and conservative, which can at first make them appear distant, unemotional or, sometimes mistakenly, disinterested. Belgians tend to be formal and closed when meeting people for the first time, and relationships can take a long time to develop; it's not common to discuss personal matters, or at least at the beginning of your acquaintance. However, once all the aspects of your potential partnership (or even friendship) have been considered and approved, Belgians who enter a relationship are serious and thereafter comfortable with opening up. On the other hand, a Belgian won't mess around with 'dating standards' if they are interested – there's no taboo around contacting someone straight away, calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend after one date or being invited to join them at a wedding. In this way, Belgians can be incredibly romantic. Yet Belgians are not renown for being overly passionate or touchy-feely, although they make up for it by generally being hard-working and stolid in nature. Their dependability and calm nature can make them great partners in times of crisis. Punctuality is also a prided trait, and turning up late is a sign of disrepect. If your date is picking you up, this means being ready well in advance – they'll likely be on your doorstep before the agreed time.

    Most like American dating culture in its approach, the British dating culture has become a system of strictly evaluating person against person to find the best match for personal preferences before committing to an exclusive relationship. Speed dating and Internet dating are both acceptable and practiced in Britain. Men ask women out and vice versa. When in a relationship, Brits are generally less physically affectionate than their American counterparts. British social customs veer away from physical touch.

    Scottish people don’t date. Over there, it seems that young men and women meet through friends, work or in a bar/club and after meeting and consuming alcohol, the newly acquainted individuals go back to someone’s flat and shag. Afterwards, it is decided whether or not they are a couple or just a sad pathetic fumble in the dark. Oddly, there also seems to be a Culture of Seriousness that surrounds a ‘traditional date’ over here. Although most young people have very few concerns about shagging a near-stranger, a lot of Scottish men break into a cold sweat if you ask them out for a coffee. It's almost as if you're asking them to practically set a wedding date.

    Canadians are seasonal daters. Primary dating season for Canadians occurs between the months of October – May (Eager daters start scouting their options in September). Winter lovers are not just a bonus in Canada, they’re a key component of keeping our heating bills down. The closer you huddle the warmer you stay – and there’s a general understanding that all bets are off come May or June. Don’t be worried if your beau shows up at a brunch date in a pair of Roots sweatpants. Sweatpants aren’t the end of a relationship in Canada, if anything they indicate a new chapter of your love story. The best way to show your commitment is by investing in some too. Canadians try to make the most of good weather by being outside. Your relationship milestones will look like this: the first time you hike together, the first time take a canoe ride on a lake together, the first time you go camping together and so on. The best thing about looking for a date in Canada is being surrounded by great people. Canadians are renowned all over the world for being friendly, polite and laidback. You might be rejected at times but it will be done very kindly, so don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there.

    Group dating is the norm across Australia, particularly among teenagers. It stands as a tribute to their gregarious culture and the value they place on friendship. Couples often don't go out on their first dates alone until they're almost 20 years old, and even after marriage Australians typically go out in groups more often than by themselves. Along with group dating, couples will often invite several of their single friends out for drinks, to their home for dinner, or to a movie to see if any sparks fly. But these get-togethers are not always planned to coax particular men and women into falling for each other on sight. Rather, they're simply a way for single men and women to get to know other singles who may share their interests. Single women in Australia typically do not shy away from asking out men they're interested in. Especially on the first date, women take the lead by making plans for the day or evening and handling reservations or other arrangements. When Australian women ask men out, they have no problem picking up the check, at least for the first few dates.

    New Zealanders don’t take themselves too seriously. It does’t matter if they have pots of money, are blindingly handsome, have legs up to here or are professional athletes, generally speaking Kiwis are very down to earth people. If you’re unsure whether you’re suitable for someone, just have a crack. That’s the Kiwi way. Worst-case scenario is that you’ll get turned down. The thing is though that even then, it’ll be in the most humble, conciliatory way possible. The person turning you down will probably be of the type that offers to go out for a drink anyway, “But just as mates, aye.”
    https://theculturetrip.com/europe/de...u-should-know/
    https://www.thelocal.se/20141110/fiv...g-in-sweden-si
    https://oureverydaylife.com/the-norw...-12081031.html
    https://adventures.is/blog/dating-in-iceland/
    https://www.thelocal.at/20150203/nin...te-an-austrian
    https://www.expatica.com/ch/family-e...en_106713.html
    https://www.expatica.com/nl/insider-...ch_101955.html
    https://www.expatica.com/be/insider-...ns_106657.html
    https://oureverydaylife.com/european...-12081035.html
    https://www.expatica.com/uk/insider-...te_104338.html
    https://thoughtcatalog.com/heidi-pri...y-when-dating/
    https://oureverydaylife.com/australi...-12080907.html
    https://theculturetrip.com/pacific/n...new-zealander/
    "Tradition doesn't mean holding on to the ashes, it means passing the torch."
    - Thomas Morus (1478-1535)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmetterling View Post
    Dating in Denmark can be tricky for foreigners who aren’t familiar with Scandinavian culture. It is said that Danes don’t date in a traditional way—they tend to skip the flirting phase and be very direct about their feelings. Danes’ directness has its advantages and its disadvantages. The good part is you almost always know what’s going on. If someone likes you, chances are you’ll know right from the beginning. Here, it is quite common for women to make the first move, a custom which could be attributed to the fact that Danish society has been built on an egalitarian model—everyone is considered equal. (...) You don’t have to come up with a crazy idea, but something more casual like a walk around the lakes or a picnic at the park (depending on yours and your date’s taste) may go down better.
    I was considered weird in my home country, but it looks like I would fit in perfectly in a Scandinavian country like Denmark. Things are more normal here, from my point of view.
    I was almost always telling my feelings and made the first step, when necessary, since childhood, when I liked someone. And that was really weird to do in Romania! Some guys were freaked out by that behaviour!

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmetterling View Post
    (...) One of the most important and most confusing things about dating in Sweden is that it's not dating. So don't call it a date. You can ask out a classmate for fika, but not a date. After you've had fika a couple of times you can move on to other activities. Maybe suggest cooking a meal together or going ice skating. Dinner and movie won't come until much later - but even then, call it dinner and a movie, not 'date'.
    I have to admit I am bit confused here... what is dating and what is not dating? What is "a date"? And what is "fika"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmetterling View Post
    Many cultures greet with a kiss of some manner, perhaps a kiss on the cheek. Honestly, that will creep a Swede out. Don't do it. But Swedes are huge fans of the awkward hug, where you lean in and wrap your arms around each other and then separate again. Each fika 'date' and activity should start and end with a hug. Don't move on from the hug until it's clear that it's more than fika, and that the feelings are mutual. Kissing is complicated.
    That kind of thing (kissing on the cheek) creeps me out too! It's very common in Romania, but I never liked it, and it still creeps me out... But I love HUGS!!! Hugs are not that common there though... And people are creeped out of hugs there, even if they kiss each other a lot. For me that's very weird and strange. So I guess I would kind of fit in well in Sweden too, it would be a more normal place for me to be in, from this perspective!

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmetterling View Post
    When it comes to Norwegian dating, women make the first move. To foreigners, Norwegian women often seem forward, and men quite timid (although they're probably just a bit more equal than elsewhere). Either way, Norwegian women might walk up to a man and say “I like you, call me”. Class stratification is rare in Norwegian social interaction and the culture instills the notion that mates should be chosen based on compatibility and with goals of equal partnership. While marriage remains popular, Norway has seen cultural acceptance of unmarried cohabitation and alternative lifestyles.
    As I said about Denmark too, I really feel like I fit in better here in Norway, hehe. Even though I've never been that straightforward... I can be a bit shy too... and sometimes not doing anything at all (unless I'm really sure about my feelings).

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmetterling View Post
    Icelanders are not much into the whole “can I take you out for a first date“ in the formal matter of sitting down at a nice restaurant. Most say that this is just too much pressure. They like to have a drink together, buy ice cream or possibly take a stroll somewhere you aren’t likely to run into anyone. Being such a small country you are always likely to meet someone you know and when it’s just the first date and you aren’t sure about this you usually don’t want to run into anyone. So they keep it casual and prefer weird places where they are unlikely to meet anyone.
    I sometimes also prefer not to meet anyone else besides the one I'm meeting with. I guess it can be quite easy to do that in Norway too. Also I'm not into restaurants and I don't like pressure either. I'd rather go for a walk or cooking dinner at home or doing whatever other things together with no pressure. People here seem to be more like how I am. Or maybe I am more the way they are. I really love this way to do things. I think it's more natural and less conventional.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmetterling View Post
    It’s very common to maybe have chatted on any medium before meeting downtown for the first time and possibly going home together. This does not necessarily have to mean sex, just sharing a bed and the rest is totally up to you two.
    So I'm not the only "weirdo" who thinks sharing a bed doesn't necessarily mean to have sex. I used to hang up a lot with guys as a teenagers (we were friends), and sleeping at my friends places, instead of sleeping home with my parents. One night I slept at a friend, who was a boy, and it was quite weird, he tried to do more than just sleeping there... of course that ruined our friendship, because I was obviously not interested to be more than friends with him. He invited me to sleep at his place but I never thought he had other intentions in his mind. This happened to me more than once, with more than one friend, and I became more distant with that friends after that, of course. Another guy was a really close friend of mine, we were always together and we were really good friends, but after sleeping at his place one night, I didn't want to see him any longer, just because of something similar. I still see him from time to time, and I didn't forget how good friends we used to be, but that thing that night ruined up our friendship unfortunately.

    Another time, but this time I was in a relationship, the shortest one I've ever had, the guy invited me to sleep at his place. Alright, no problem, I though it was safe. He insisted to have sex with me, even though there was another girl sleeping in the same room too. That was again a weird experience, and the next morning he became my ex, of course. I couldn't tolerate something like that.

    My ex, with whom I've been more 7 years together, was able to sleep next to me many nights in the same bed without doing anything to me, in the beginning of our relationship. I really appreciated it.

    About chatting online... I met some guys in that way, but we never went any further than being just friends.
    Die Farben duften frisch und grün... Lieblich haucht der Wind um mich.

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