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Wreath money is not a legal term, but the literal translation of German "Kranzgeld". Kranzgeld is money paid by a man to a woman as a fine on having sexual intercourse with her under the pretense of an offer of marriage which is then withdrawn.

The term refers to the wreath that a bride traditionally wears at her wedding. In some European cultures, notably Germany, a virgin bride was entitled to wear a wreath of myrtle flowers; a non-virgin bride, on the other hand, had to wear a wreath made of straw.[1]

Without her virginity, it was assumed, her expectations to gain a good match for a husband would diminish considerably. As the fiancée would have gained the protection of her status as a wife, the money is a tribute or reconciliation to her.

In Germany, the paragraph §1300 of the family law, part of the civil code Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, was abolished on May 4, 1998, when the entire law was renewed, on the occasion of a trial in 1993 where the judges decided the law was outdated. A woman had then tried to sue 1000 DM (in 2004 roughly €500 or $500), but the request was denied on the grounds of equal rights between man and woman.

  1. ^ Translated from the German article on wikipedia.de







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