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Since ancient times, the wedding ring has consistently been worn on the fourth finger of the left hand.
This tradition comes from the belief that a special vein, called the ‘vena amoris’ or ‘vein of love’, connects this ring finger to the heart.
Wearing the wedding ring on this finger was symbolic of the love and connection between the couple, and a romantic gesture representing their commitment and love to each other.
However, some people choose to wear their wedding ring on the fourth finger of the right hand, making you wonder:
What does it signify? Does wearing your wedding ring on the right hand carry any symbolism of its own?
Let’s take a look at why some people wear their wedding ring on their right hand.
Wedding Ring History
Wedding rings have a long history. They were first used in ancient Egypt over 3,000 years ago. People made rings from reeds and wore them on the left hand’s fourth finger. Romans also used wedding rings. They used iron to show the lasting nature of marriage.
Over time, rings became more decorated and were made from expensive materials like gold. In some cultures, both partners wear rings. But in others, only the bride does. Today, wedding rings are a symbol of love and commitment, and they’re an important part of wedding ceremonies around the world.
Symbolism of the Wedding Ring
As it was in the days of Ancient Egypt, the ring remains a powerful symbol today. Its unbroken circle signifies eternity — a form with no beginning or end. To the Egyptians, the hollow center represented a portal leading to unforeseen events, emblematic of everlasting love.
In contemporary times, rings continue to serve as global symbols of dedication and affection. They are more than just tokens of commitment; they can also reflect an individual’s personality or intimate facets of a relationship.
The choice of ring material itself can mirror personal values, interests, or unique aspects of the couple’s bond. Something as simple as choosing gold, silver, or platinum can hold profound implications about your shared journey.
Why are Wedding Rings Worn on the Left Hand?
Ancient Rome is often linked to the tradition of rings because it is thought that Romans originated the custom of wearing a wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand. They believed this particular finger housed the “ring finger vein,” supposedly a direct pathway to the heart. Despite this concept not standing up to modern scientific scrutiny, it was indeed a romantic notion.
The Romans referred to this vein as the Vena Amoris, or the “vein of love.” They believed that donning the ring on this finger symbolized an eternal bond between two lovers.
While this may not be scientifically correct, the charming tradition has endured the test of time. In a way, it adds a certain sweetness to the practice of wearing wedding rings, regardless of its factual basis. It’s a testament to the enduring human penchant for romance and symbolism.
Reasons for Wearing Wedding Ring on Right Hand
1. Different Traditions
Whether the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left or right hand has largely been a cultural difference.
- In several Eastern European and Latin American countries, the wedding ring is worn on the right hand.
- In certain countries like Lebanon, Turkey and Syria, the wedding ring is worn on the right up until the wedding, after which it’s transferred to the left hand.
- In some South East Asian countries, like Sri Lanka, the groom wears the wedding ring on the right hand while the bride wears it on the left.
- For people of certain religious groups, like Orthodox Christians, wedding rings are worn on the right hand.
As you can see, the right hand is often chosen for wedding rings depending on cultural and religious influences. When you meet people from other countries, you may see their wedding ring on either their left or right hand, which can sometimes get confusing.
As one of our readers put it:
I started wearing my ring on my left hand after I moved to America, because if I were to wear it on my right hand people here wouldn’t know that I’m married. All my European family wear their wedding rings on their right hands.
While not the first thing we think about, this is often a reason that makes wearing a wedding ring on the right hand practical.
Wearing your ring on your dominant hand often exposes the ring to a lot of daily wear and tear, which can result in scratches, dents and other signs of wear. By switching the ring to the right hand, this can be avoided.
Often, it’s more comfortable to wear your ring on your non-dominant hand too and doesn’t get in the way as much.
3. Gay and Lesbian Marriage
Gays and lesbians often opt to wear their wedding rings on the right hand as a way to circumvent traditional heterosexual norms, but this is often a personal choice. There’s no guideline or rule that states that same-sex couples should wear their rings on the right hand and any finger would be equally fine.
4. Health Concerns
Some people may have health issues that could prevent them from wearing their wedding rings on their left hand. This could include bone-related conditions like arthritis which can make the knuckles swell up making it difficult to put on and take off your wedding ring. While a hinged ring could be the solution for this, simply switching hands is not only an inexpensive solution but also easy to do.
What Other Rings are Worn on the Right Hand?
Often, wearing a ring on the right hand is purely a matter of personal style. Perhaps there’s a beloved ring that you don’t wish to part with once you’re wedded. The solution? Switch it over to the right hand and sport both!
Another significant factor is the tradition of promise rings. Although not universally adopted by couples, promise rings have gained popularity as a pre-engagement commitment symbol. They can be worn on either hand, and there aren’t strict rules governing their use.
If you choose to embrace the promise ring tradition, it might be worth considering donning it on your right hand. This would allow for a clear distinction between it and an engagement or wedding ring, and preserve the unique significance each ring embodies in your relationship journey.
Problems with Wearing Your Ring on Your Right Hand
The most obvious reasons are all societal. If you were to wear your ring on your right hand in a culture (like America) where wedding rings are traditionally worn on the left hand, people could assume that you aren’t married.
This could be problematic because:
- You might get hit on by others who have no idea that you’re married
- It might seem that you’re being unfaithful to your spouse by ‘concealing’ your wedding ring on the ‘wrong’ finger
- You could be mistaken for being divorced, as some people wear a ring on their right hand to signify a divorce
As you can see, all these ‘problems’ are related to society and how society perceives you. If this isn’t something that bothers you, it’s likely you won’t care what people say or think.
What Countries Wear Wedding Rings on the Right Hand?
Several countries and cultures around the world traditionally wear their wedding rings on the right hand. These include:
- Russia: Russian Orthodox Christians typically wear their wedding bands on the right hand, following religious tradition.
- India: While the customs can vary across different cultures and regions, many in India wear their wedding rings on the right hand.
- Eastern Europe: In countries such as Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, and Serbia, it’s traditional to wear the wedding ring on the right hand.
- Spain: In certain regions of Spain, especially among the Catalan and Valencian communities, wedding rings are worn on the right hand.
- Greece: As part of Orthodox Christian tradition, Greeks typically wear their wedding rings on the right hand.
- Nordic countries: In countries such as Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, it’s common to wear the wedding ring on the right hand.
- Germany: In Germany, the tradition varies. Engagement rings are worn on the left hand and are moved to the right hand during the wedding ceremony.
- Brazil: Brazilian couples typically wear their wedding bands on the right hand until the actual wedding ceremony, at which point they are switched to the left.
While these customs prevail in these countries, it’s essential to remember that personal preferences and modern practices might lead to variations.
Where to Buy
1. Blue Nile
Blue Nile is a top choice for those seeking convenience without compromising on variety or quality and offers a vast selection of wedding rings in different styles and materials.
The easy-to-navigate website provides detailed descriptions and quality images of each ring, making it simple for you to find your perfect match from the comfort of your home.
2. Angara Jewelers
Specializing in finely crafted jewelry, Angara Jewelers is renowned for its beautiful collection of wedding rings. Whether you’re looking for classic elegance or modern chic, Angara provides a wide range of options to suit every individual’s taste.
They pride themselves on their quality craftsmanship and commitment to customer satisfaction.
3. James Allen
Known for their high-quality diamonds, James Allen is a great place to shop for exceptional wedding rings. One of the unique features of their online platform is the 360-degree view provided for every ring.
This enables customers to examine their potential purchase from every angle, ensuring they’re completely happy with their choice before making a purchase.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal choice and beliefs. If you aren’t guided by tradition or religion, you can pick any finger you wish to be your wedding ring finger.
It might be confusing for some and may get raised eyebrows, but as there’s no law stating that your wedding ring needs to go on your left hand, you’re free to get as creative as you like.