Why is the wedding ring worn on the ring finger? And why do some wear faith on their left hand, while others on the right? Here are the answers ♦ ︎
Why is the wedding ring worn on the ring finger? And why on the left hand? The choice of the finger on which to wear the ring is not accidental. But this also applies to the other fingers. Read this article if you want to know why the wedding ring is worn on the finger between the little finger and the middle finger.
Read also: On which finger to wear the ring
Why are you wearing a wedding ring? Simple: the wedding ring tells other people the status of a married person. It’s like saying: I have already found a soul mate, don’t try it with me, thank you. Or at least it almost always is.
Not in all countries the wedding ring is worn on the left hand: there is also who wears it on the right, but the meaning is always the same. In some European countries, for example, those of the Greek Orthodox rite, the ring is worn on the left hand before marriage, but is then transferred to the right during the ceremony. The same concept is valid for the engagement ring, which is a more recent habit. Also, in this case, the engagement ring is worn on the same finger on which the wedding ring is inserted. Once married, a woman is allowed to wear both rings at the same time in many cultures.
By the way: even the wedding ring for men is a rather recent habit: in the past it was only the woman who had to wear the faith. In Britain, for example, only women tended to wear a wedding ring until the first and second world wars, when married male soldiers began wearing rings to remind them of the partner.
But why is the wedding ring worn on the ring finger? There are several theories about it. According to some, in ancient times the ring finger was special, a bit magical. In Chinese, is a finger without a name. Even in Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) and in other languages such as Finnish or Russian the ring finger is referred to as “unnamed”. The magical properties derive from the fact that in the past it was believed that there was a vein that directly connected the fourth finger of the left hand with the heart. It was called vena amoris, the vein of love.
It is not so, but this conviction has determined the finger on which to wear the ring: the one in which it was thought there was the vein that leads directly to the heart. The ring on the fourth finger of the left hand symbolically closed the access of others to the heart. This tradition dates back to the ceremonies of the ancient Romans, who called this habit anulus pronubis: man gave a ring to the woman during the engagement rite. With the Christian religion, the wedding ring was worn and blessed in medieval times. The ritual involved wearing the ring on the thumb, index, middle and ring finger of the left hand, where it remained.
Countries where the marriage ring is worn on the left hand
Australia, Botswana, Canada, Egypt, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Central and Eastern Europe, United States, France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia and Romania, Catalonia and the Valencia area (while in Spain it is usually worn on the right).
Countries where the marriage ring is worn on the right hand
Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands (for those who are not Catholic), Norway and Spain (except in Catalonia and Valencia) , Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Venezuela.
Countries where the ring is worn on the right hand until the wedding day, when it is moved to the left
Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Romania, Brazil
In Sri Lanka the groom wears the wedding ring on his right hand while the bride wears it on her left hand, still on her ring finger. The wedding ring was not the habit of Muslim religious marriage and wedding rings are not provided in most Islamic countries, where, however, the ring is used to indicate engagement. Muslim engagement rings are generally worn on the right finger by men and the left finger by women. But even in this case there are exceptions: the wedding ring can be worn on the left hand in Iran, or on the right hand in Jordan.
In Jewish marriages the wedding ring is worn on the forefinger of the bride’s right hand, but in other cases on the middle finger or thumb or ring finger of the left hand after the ceremony. It also depends on the type of marriage: some Jewish spouses have adopted Western habits also for the ring, while Orthodox men do not wear wedding rings.
The rings are not traditional even in a Hindu wedding, but it is customary to wear them for the engagement. Men generally wear rings on the right hand and women on the left hand.