From time immemorial, wedding rings have been considered as a symbol of eternal love. It is an emblem of affection and devotion between two people to celebrate each other for the rest of their lives. The shape of a ring is essentially a circle. A circle has no beginning and no end and hence, it can be called infinite. Similarly, a wedding ring also denotes an infinite bond between the couple.
Wedding rings hold a huge emphasis in almost every culture of the world. Different cultures have different beliefs and facts associated with the wedding ring. We have listed a few interesting facts about wedding rings and how they are perceived across various cultures.
India – The vein of love
In the Roman era, it was believed that the vein in the ring finger (fourth finger) on the left hand ran directly to one’s heart. Thus, this finger was called as the ‘vein of love’ or ‘vena amoris’. This age-old tradition has persisted and couples in many cultures adorn the wedding ring on the left hand to proclaim their everlasting love for each other. In India too, the engagement ring is always placed on the left hand.
The Chinese tradition
The Chinese have symbolism for every finger on the left hand. The thumb finger represents your parents, the index finger represents your siblings, the middle finger represents yourself, the ring finger represents your life partner and the little finger represents children. So naturally, when a Chinese takes the wedding vows, he/she places the ring on the finger symbolizing the life partner.
England and North America
In these countries, rings are worn as a set marking the milestones during a marriage. First is the engagement ring, which is worn on the fourth finger of the right hand. After marriage, the engagement ring is moved to the left hand, on top of the wedding ring. Finally, comes the eternity ring, which as per tradition, is given on the first anniversary or, the birth of the first child. This ring is either worn on the wedding and engagement ring or, on the opposite hand.
Romania has a very beautiful custom wherein couples gift each other a silver wedding ring which is worn alongside their gold wedding bands. The tradition is in order to celebrate a long lasting marriage and to commemorate the commitment that the couple have and the time they have spent together in this marriage. Lovely isn’t it?
Brides and grooms in Eastern Europe, including Poland, Russia, and parts of Austria and Germany, wear their engagement and wedding rings on their right hand instead of on their left. This practice can also be seen in other cultures. In Nordic countries like Sweden, both the bride and the groom are given an engagement ring. The rings are simple and consist of either plain gold or silver bands.
These are the wedding ring traditions across different countries in the world. However, the most important fact is that wedding rings are a symbol of love and you can choose to wear it on any hand irrespective of the set norms.