Traditions … we rarely think about them in everyday life, but they often have great cultural and historical significance.
We decided today to find out why couples in some countries wear wedding rings on the left hand and in other countries – on the right. It is always very interesting to know these small but important differences.
Why Exactly The Ring Finger?
Ancient Romans and Egyptians believed that the ring finger had a nerve or vein that connected it directly to the heart. The Romans even gave it a special name: “the vein of love” (lat. Vena amoris). If a person puts a ring on the ring finger, it means that their heart is already busy.
And here is another explanation, no less beautiful and romantic.
Ring On The Right Hand: History, Countries, And Customs
The ancient Romans were the first to wear the wedding ring on the right hand. They believed that the left hand was unhappy and “unreliable.”
For many years, it has been customary in India to wear rings only on the right hand because the left hand was considered “impure”. Today it is allowed to wear wedding rings on either hand.
In Germany and the Netherlands, couples wear gold engagement rings on the left hand and wedding rings on the right. This means a change in social status.
According to Jewish tradition, the groom places the ring on the index finger of the bride’s right hand. After marriage, women often wear it on the ring finger of the same hand.
Countries where wedding rings are worn on the right hand: Norway, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Russia, Portugal, Spain and Belgium (in some territories), Georgia, Serbia, Ukraine, Greece, Latvia, Hungary, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Venezuela.
Ring On The Left Hand: History, Countries, And Customs
Wearing the wedding ring on the left hand is a relatively recent tradition, which began in the early 18th century. Before, even in English-speaking countries, rings were worn on the right hand.
This 1869 article suggests that in some countries the change of hand in which the ring is placed from the right (dominant hand) to the left (non-dominant) has become a sign of respect with which women relate to her husband (men do not wear wedding rings at this time).
In Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, and Brazil, the wedding ring is worn on the right hand before marriage and on the left after.
Countries where wedding rings are worn on the left hand: Australia, Canada, Botswana, Egypt, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia and most of the Asian countries.
A Few More Interesting Facts
In Sri Lanka, the groom wears the wedding ring on his right hand and the bride wears it on her left.
Wedding rings are not accepted in most Muslim countries (the tradition of exchanging rings is also absent in the religious wedding ceremony). But if it is still used, it can be on both the left (Iran) and right (Jordan) ring finger.
In countries where the ring is worn on the left hand, after the death of the spouse, many place it on the ring finger of the right hand. This gesture symbolizes the unbreakable bond with the deceased spouse.
Before World War II, men did not wear wedding rings. Soldiers who fought far from home and family began using them as a comforting reminder that their loving wives were waiting for them.
If you are not looking to follow religious traditions or canons, choosing the hand for the wedding ring is a matter of convenience and personal preference.
For example, some left-handed people choose the right hand to wear the ring simply because they don’t want it to fade or scratch.
Wedding rings are primarily a symbol of your love and there is no law that requires them to be worn on both hands. So the choice is yours!
Preview photo credit depositphotos.com