In many cultures blind dates are an integral part of a matchmaking process set up by community leaders, professional matchmakers or family members.
In many cases potential dates have been found by choosing among eligible partners whose religious beliefs, family background, age, astrological charts, education and finances are deemed a suitable match.
Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match... we've all seen the movie but do traditional Jewish matchmakers still exist? In Orthodox Jewish communities dating is limited to the search for a partner for life and family, friends and at times a shadchan (professional matchmaker) still get heavily involved in the search for a shidduch (match).
Potential partners are judged on character and level of religious observance and a meeting between the two is organised. The Talmud forbids arranged marriages and so the couple are allowed to meet on several occasions in order to decide themselves if they are a good match.
In effect this is a first blind date.
In many cultures marriage is seen as more than a union between a man and a woman - it is a merger of their families as well. Consequently it is family rather than the individual who gets to choose a partner for life.
Arranged marriages have always been a part of Hindu culture and their success is based on practicalities such as compatibility of religious sect, education and cultural similarities, all of which are thought to be more enduring qualities for a good marriage than the temporary infatuations of youth.
Most arranged marriages are planned years in advance and the eventual blind date between the two individuals is only one step in a long process of harmoniously drawing two families together.
Traditionally the last hope of lonely farmers, the Lisdoonvarna Matching Festival held in the west of Ireland is Europe's largest matchmaking festival and the scene of many blind, and blind drunk, dates.
The Lisdoonvarna festival grew up as a harvestime celebration and traditional matchmaking event for singles from surrounding villages. The festival now attracts an international audience and lasts for the whole month of September.
A dance in the tea rooms, a few pints down the pub and an appointment with the town's matchmaker should soon see you heading off on a blind date. There's plenty of dancing, music, and craic as well as Ireland's only operational spa, should you find pushing through the crowd of singles to the bar just too much of a hassle.