Art of Engagement
The History of the One-Knee Proposal
A man gets down on one knee, and nothing more needs to be said. You know exactly what it means. This globally known act of proposing has been around for a long time, but why do we do it? Where did it come from? The answers to these questions may not be exactly what you think they are.
The exact origins of getting down on one knee to propose is unknown. I know, all of that only to reveal we don’t know and your guess is as good as ours. One thing is known, though. The act of proposing is definitely a Western world act. Proposing on one knee has been depicted in medieval art and in writings, but has not been seen at all in Eastern writing; at least not as an act of proposing or courting.
The act of getting down on one knee has historically been a powerful symbol for things other than love. A show of deep respect for our superiors, surrendering to those who have defeated us and an act of prayer within many religions. When your partner gets down on one knee, they are recreating a symbol of respect and admiration that has existed for hundreds of years.
This is what has been forgotten over the years. We get down on one knee to surrender ourselves to our one true love. We get down on one knee to pay our deepest respects to our partner. We get down on one knee to show our partner we want to spend the rest of our life with them.
The exact origin is not important. What matters is that this historic gesture of respect and admiration has become something truly beautiful.