The word Engagement is heard in almost every walk of an individual’s life. The dictionary meaning of engagement refers to, "the act of engaging or the state of being engaged".
An engagement is a promise to marriage, and also the period of time between proposal and marriage, which may be lengthy or trivial. During this period, a couple is said to be affia-nced, betrothed, engaged to be married, or engaged.
While most parents in Pakistan seem to be plotting their child's wedding the moment it is conceived, the planning starts in earnest with the magni, or engagement. Mangis are arrived at in a variety of manners - the more traditional method entailing the boy and his parents going over to the girl's house to 'see' the girl. Usually, the girl will serve tea or make some other kind of token appearance, and then the boy and his family go home and decide if they like the girl and her family. Family is of the utmost importance here - it is generally assumed that if the family is good then the son or daughter is good too. In this traditional method, the boy's father would then send the proposal to the girl's father, and after consulting with his daughter the girl's family either accepts or rejects. Of course, in this age of globalization, kids who grew up watching Friends are not going to go for such a thing, so the process is changing. Dating has entered the fray in Pakistan, but it is usually done on the sly & the parents are not told until the couple is ready for marriage. But, whatever the method, once the match is made & both parties have accepted, the fun begins and engagemnt rings are given to future bride and groom and they wear them happily.
The magni itself is a very small ceremony with all the close family present to see the couple formally engaged. As with all ceremonies in any Muslim country, a prayer is said to ensure the smoothness of the process and the happiness of the couple. Food is usually served afterwards, but this is usually a pretty reserved affair. The shadi date is set, usually a good 6 months or more out, and it is during this period of engagement that couples following the more traditional route, who at this point hardly know each other, get to hang out and begin their first attempts at a relationship.
To conclude, engagement is proves to a blessing for all, at any given phase of life. It gives a chance for an individual, to not only explore themselves but also understand to what they want from their spouse. This avoids clashes and misunderstanding in the married life.