The ring finger meaning is very simple – it is a finger on which people wear a wedding ring. A simple tradition cause a lot of questions: on which hand is the ring finger, what finger is the wedding finger, on which hand to wear an engagement ring. Today we review all these questions in this post.
Ancient traditions of wearing the wedding rings
The question “which hand is the ring finger” rooted in the past. The ancient Romans and Egyptians believed that the ring finger has a nerve or vein directly connecting it to the heart. The Romans even had a special name for it – “the vein of love” (Latin vena amoris). If somebody puts a ring on the ring finger, it means that your heart is busy since now.
The ancient Romans were the first who wore an engagement ring on the ring finger of the right hand. Then it was believed that the left hand is unhappy and “unreliable”.
In India, for many years, it has been customary to wear rings only on the right hand, because the left hand is “unclean”. Nowadays, wedding bands can be worn on both hands.
To wear a wedding ring on the left hand is a relatively recent tradition, which was born only at the beginning of the 18th century (before that, even in English-speaking countries, the rings were worn on the right hand).
In Medieval Europe, particularly in France, during the wedding, the groom put on the bride’s ring on the middle finger of his right hand, but at the same time, it was customary in the Liege episcopate to put a ring on the bride’s ring finger.
In England, before the Reformation, the middle finger of the right hand was intended for the engagement ring, the first mention of the fact that the ring should be worn on the left hand occurs in the prayer book of 1549. However, before that, King Edward VI officially fixed a special decree wearing a wedding ring on the middle finger of his left hand.
In the Renaissance, the tradition of wearing engagement rings has significantly changed. The men wore symbols of their marriage vows on chains, fastened them to other ornaments and even hats.
In 1549, Protestants, having left the tradition of wearing a ring on a ring finger, slightly changed it, having decided to wear a ring not on the right hand, but on the left. However, many Catholics did not begin to change the tradition and remained true to the “right-handed” marriage.
But in England, during the reign of King George I, the wedding ring was often worn on the thumb. During the exchange of marriage vows, the ring was traditionally worn on a ring finger, but for some reason, perhaps, this was a fad, later it moved to the first finger of the hand.
On which hand is the ring finger nowadays
In Germany and the Netherlands newlyweds wear wedding rings before the wedding on their left hand, and after the ceremony – on the right, which, as it were, marks a change in the social status.
According to Jewish tradition, the groom puts on the bride’s ring on the index finger of the right hand as the most important on the hand. After the wedding, the girls usually wear this ring on the ring finger of the same hand.
Countries in which the wedding rings are worn on the right hand are Norway, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Russia, Portugal, Spain and Belgium (in some territories), Georgia, Serbia, Ukraine, Greece, Latvia, Hungary, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Venezuela.
In Lebanon, Turkey, Syria and Brazil before the wedding ring is worn on the right hand, and after – on the left.
Countries in which the wedding rings are worn on the left hand: Australia, Canada, Egypt, Botswana, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, USA, France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, as well as most Asian countries.
Wedding rings are not worn in most Muslim countries (the tradition of exchanging rings is also absent in the religious ceremony of marriage), but if it is still worn, it can be both the ring finger of the left (Iran) and the right hand (Jordan).
In Sri Lanka, the bridegroom wears an engagement ring on her right hand, and the bride wears a wedding ring on her left.
In countries where the ring is worn on the left hand, after the death of the spouse many put it on the ring finger of the right hand. This gesture symbolizes the inviolability of communication with the deceased husband or wife.
In many Northern countries, it was a custom to freeze both rings in a small amount of water before the wedding : when they thaw, they allegedly remember that they were once a single whole, and will always drag on to each other. If an unmarried bridesmaid touches the wedding ring at the wedding or “privatizes” the box that has already become unnecessary, she will soon be a bride at her own wedding.
A lucky sign is if the newlyweds are betrothed by the same rings as their grandfather and grandmother, who have lived for many years in peace and harmony, and by the time of the wedding their grandchildren are still alive. Use rings of divorced or dead people – to the worst.
It is believed that their wedding ring in any case can not be given to anyone to try on or wear.
Wedding rings are primarily a symbol of your love, and there is no law requiring them to be worn on one hand or another. So you decide by yourself on which hand is the ring finger. The choice is yours!