The Marriage Proposal
Frederic Soulacroix 1858 - 1933
In Spain it is customary for the families of a future bride and groom ...los novios...to meet for a friendly luncheon, tea or dinner in the prenuptial event called "the asking of the hand"...la petición de mano.
Whereas in former days the groom may have made a formal request to the bride's father for her hand in marriage, the custom was gradually disappearing. The bride and groom had by this time decided to marry and the petición de mano became more of an engagement party where the two families would have the opportunity to meet, perhaps for the first time.
At this time the engagement ring is presented to the bride by her future husband, while she customarily presents him with a watch or engraved cuff links.
Since Helen's future inlaws lived in Barcelona, they took a hotel room in Palma for their short visit to the island. Helen and her father would be hosting the casual coffee afternoon in the apartment in which I was a guest. Vases were filled with flowers. Coffee and light refreshments were prepared.
Finally the three arrived...the handsome groom, José, dressed in a dark suit, his mother, dressed in black and his father also dressed in a dark suit. It was customary at that time for Spanish women to wear black for most important occasions, whether or not they were in mourning (de luto) for a deceased family member, which under Catholic Church customs kept them wearing black for most of their senior years.
However on this occasion the dark clothing was for the significance of the event. Mr. G. also wore a dark suit and tie, while Helen and I wore printed summer dresses. I was not long in Spain, having recently arrived from Canada, so I found all this to be most unusual and interesting.
After the coffee, the pleasantries and exchange of gifts, we all went out for dinner to a lovely restaurant. Here in this photo below, you see from left to right, the groom's parents, Helen (pseudonym) the bride, José the groom, and George Bowden...Mr. G.
Here below are some more transparency photos I made in El Pueblo Español, the Spanish Village, located in Palma de Mallorca during this time, shortly after my arrival in 1968.
La Guitarreria - the entrance to Mr. G's guitar factory:
The Basket Maker:
In Pueblo Español:
Reproduction of La Alhambra:
Vancouver Chuck with José Ferrer - guitar maker:
Continue on to Chapter 33 Night Boat to Barcelona
Go back to Chapter 31 Living in Palma