Postby emccormick » September 1st, 2008 7:59 am
Since rings go back to something like 300 BC, their relationship to Christianity is tenuous at best.
The idea of engagement gifts in general goes back so far in history, in so many ways, that it is really hard to say where it started. This may just represent the fact that people like to get gifts, and have liked this for a long time.
Heck, look at the other side, the dowry. That is a tradition that has just about died out, but it still represents a large gift in relationship to a marriage. And since it is referenced in ancient Babylonian texts, I think it has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with the fact that people like to surround special events with gifts.
Same reasoning seems to go with the bridal shower, wedding gifts, so on and so forth.
Now for something more specific to the Japanese.
In modern Japanese popular culture, IE: Japanese TV shows, the giving of a ring is very common. The start of this trend in ring giving is not new. Even shows that are ten years old have it.
Whether this is life reflecting art, or the reverse, I can not say. But it seems to be the gift of choice that a Japanese female wants when moving the relationship to that point.
So I suggest you break down, buy the ring, and not worry about any preconceived religious connotations that are probably inaccurate.