In this article, I give you the answer on why people still wear wedding rings today. Wearing a wedding ring is one of the oldest and longest preserved traditions respected by newlyweds around the world. There is a theory that they are still in the IX century BC. The Egyptians shaped the ring to materialize a circle that they thought was a symbol of eternity, and the ring was a pledge of lasting love.
The Egyptians wore the ring on the little finger of their left hand because of the belief that the vein (vena amoris) leads straight to the heart from that place. The Romans were not so romantic, they wore a ring on the same finger, but because that position meant that the wife was her husband’s. Over time, it was made of various materials, starting from iron, through grass, leather, stone, and only from the 19th century were they made of gold. Today, gold rings are a must-have accessory.
Wedding ring and faith
From the 13th century, the wedding ring began to carry a Christian context. While saying the words “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”, the priest would touch one finger at a time, starting with the thumb, and the word “amen” would be placed on the little finger. It was then that the custom of wearing a wedding ring by both husband and wife came to life, while until then the ring was worn only by the fairer sex. From that moment on, he carried the symbolism that all people are equal before God.
Symbolism of ancient times
In ancient times, a wedding ring was not worn on the finger, but around the ankle or wrist. As the peoples were very superstitious, and the death rate was high, the man tied a twig around his beloved’s ankle and thus at the same time showed her love and a protective relationship. This protective relationship stems from the belief that the human spirit can walk out of the body.
Wedding ring as a status symbol
The appearance of the ring enabled another level of discrimination, which was especially pronounced among the Romans and Egyptians. On the basis of the ring, the Egyptians could immediately conclude which class someone belonged to and, accordingly, not get involved in conversations with the person who is “below them”. The richest class of women wore wedding rings made of precious metals, while the rest had to be satisfied with clay, glass, bronze…
The Romans went a step further as they forbade slaves to wear any ring. The people wore iron rings, and only ambassadors, consuls and senators were allowed to wear gold rings. With each change of ruler, a new insane law on wearing wedding rings would come. At one time, it was even forbidden to wear wedding rings to the descendants of slaves until they became rich, and only the ruler could judge whether they were rich enough.
Where to wear a wedding ring?
According to the oldest beliefs, the fourth finger on the left hand comes directly from the heart with the vein of love, so it is customary to wear a wedding ring there. However, the government also thinks that this custom originates from not so romantic, but practical reasons. Namely, a larger percentage of people are right-handed , which is why the wedding ring bothers them in their daily obligations.
Orthodox Christians and residents of Eastern Europe traditionally wear a wedding ring on their right hand. The right side is considered to be the bearer of the meaning of the words readiness, agility, skill, while the left side has a worse connotation which refers to the dark, unhappy, evil. For the same reason, the right hand is raised during the oath.
Today, couples have a larger selection of wedding rings than ever before. It doesn’t even have to be a classic wedding ring, some newlyweds like to tattoo a circle on the place of the ring as a symbol of eternal love. Men can often be bothered by the ring because they are not used to wearing jewelry, so they keep it in boxes. Some girls, following the example of Carrie Bradshaw, like to wear it on a chain and thus combine style and love.
In addition, the financial aspect must be mentioned. In addition to the tradition that was once followed and respected, young people are more rational today. So, bearing in mind the fact that before the wedding ring people “must” buy engagement rings, and cities are really expensive, more and more young people decide to an alternative instead of a standard wedding ring, or buy a ring that is a combination of an engagement ring and a wedding ring.
If the 21st century has made anything possible, it is freedom of choice. Decide for yourself what suits you best and wear it the way it suits you. What matters is only what it represents to you because throughout history the meaning has changed, and what will be significantly more difficult to change is your attitude towards this piece of jewelry.