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A formal proposal of marriage was preceeded by a discreet inquiry to ensure it would not meet rejection.The proposal was usually made in the evening and unknown to an outsider, except in Karelia where it was a village affair with lots of festivity.In western Finland a party was held on the first day the banns were published.In eastern Finland it was customary to hold both betrothal and banns parties.Since 1911 girls have been allowed to marry at age 17.Girls under the age of 20 weren't considered mature enough for marriage, but by age 25 a girl was looked upon as an old maid.The opportunities for young people to get acquainted were limited.The busiest times were between Easter and Midsummer, and between Michaelmas and Christmas.

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As early as the 17th century attempts were made to restrict the visits for gifts to the bride's home parish.

Later the young people traveled into town together to buy rings and a silken scarf. According to the ecclesiastic order of 1571 the banns had to be published before a betrothal.

The betrothal was made in the presence of a pastor.

It was 14 for boys and 13 for girls in the 16th century.

In 1721 it was raised to 21 and 15 respectively, but the sons of peasants were permitted to marry at age 18 and this was effective until 1922.


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