In ancient times, the marriage process in Vietnam consists of 6 ceremonies. That process is rather cumbersome and inconvenient, so it was gradually compiled into 3 ceremonies which are Proposal (Dạm Ngõ), Engagement (Ăn Hỏi) and Wedding (Cưới). Proposal Ceremony is an important and first step opening for the next 2 ceremonies of engagement and wedding.
Before Proposal Ceremony, the families of the future groom and future bride met and agreed for 2 people to go to the marriage. Dam Ngo is the ceremony so that the parents of the future groom and the future bride become common parents of 2 children, and 2 families have opportunities to discuss the next engagement and wedding ceremonies, and the future bride and groom are allowed go to each other’s house to inform the things related to the marriage procedure.
The majority of Vietnamese people believe that marriage is a very important thing in a person’s life, and they also believe that there are a good time and a bad one. Before the ceremony, they come to a fortune-teller to have him choose a good time for the ceremony. The time needs to be agreed so that 2 families prepare carefully, avoiding mistakes which cause a bad first impression.
The offerings for Proposal Ceremony are rather simple. They have a little difference, depending on the region. However, basically, there must be a betel and areca tray, a pair of alcohol bottles, a pair of tea boxes, a pair of ducks, some bakes and fruit.
Because this is just an internal meeting of two families, the participants are not too crowded, about 7 representatives from each family are beautiful enough. Besides the parents of two sides, family representatives can be grandparents, aunt, uncle (the future groom’s family side can be plus a matchmaker.)
Firstly, the future groom’s family representative says hello to the future bride’s family, introduces participants of the future groom’s family. Next, he presents the reason for going to the future bride’s house. Then he displays the offerings which are prepared and asks the future bride’s parents for allying and letting 2 children get to go to each other’s house to inform things related to the next ceremonies.
The future bride’s family representative thanks to the future groom’s family and introduces the presence of the future bride’s family and receives the offerings. The future bride’s parents offer offerings to the ancestor altar, report the marriage situation of 2 children and pray to the ancestor for a good marriage. After that, the future bride’s family representative expresses agreement with the suggestions of the future groom’s family. Two children get to say the first “Daddy and Mummy” words for each other’s parents.
After that, 2 families discuss each other about the time and offerings for the engagement ceremony and wedding one. At the end of the ceremony, the future bride’s family invites the future groom’s family to eat an intimate meal at home or at the restaurant to have opportunities for more exchanges to increase the cohesion between the two families.