The engagement ceremony is an important pre-wedding ritual in Indian cultures where the would-be-bride and the bridegroom-to-be come face to face and are formally betrothed to each other by their families. The Hindu tradition of ‘Vagdanam’ dates back to Vedic ages, and it involves the groom’s family giving their words to the bride’s family that they will accept their daughter and will be responsible for her future wellbeing. It is sort of an exchange of pledges between the families and a chance of getting to know each other’s customs or rituals. In historic times, this ritual involved elaborate announcements in case of Royalties. In Rajput traditions, this betrothal generally takes place soon after the birth of a girl so as to ward of other suitors.
Engagement ceremonies are uniform across most religion and ethnicities across India, differing in nuances and details of the rituals. In some cases, the engagement ceremony marks the formal announcement of the betrothal, while in others it marks the ceremony where the official date of the wedding is determined. In some cultures the engagement precedes the actual wedding by as much as a year whereas in others they are held a day or two prior the actual wedding. Exchanging of rings is not mandatory in all cultures across the country, but it is almost always involves the ritual being the formal announcement of the impending nuptials