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Why do we wear our wedding ring on our left ring finger?

A tradition since ancient times, marriage has for millennia been the institution that joins a couple before the law in order to form a family. The spouses exchange a ring as a symbol of their reciprocal commitments. But why does the wedding ring have to be worn on the left ring finger? The explanations are numerous and often come from legends or ancestral theories.

A tradition from Greek civilisation

In ancient times, during the time of Hippocrates, Greek physicians thought that a vein ran directly from the heart to the left ring finger. Nicknamed the “vein of love”, it resulted in the wedding ring, a symbol of union, being worn on the left ring finger. This custom was taken up again by the Romans.

A tradition from religion

Another explanation comes from a 17th century Christian custom. During the wedding ceremony, while saying “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”, the priest touched in turn the thumb, the forefinger and the middle finger with the wedding ring, and when it was time to say “Amen”, he slipped the ring on the ring finger.

A tradition shaped by Chinese culture

A third theory comes from Asia, more specifically from China. For the Chinese, each finger represents a part of your family:

  • The thumb symbolises your parents

  • The index finger symbolises your siblings

  • The middle finger symbolises yourself

  • The ring finger symbolises your spouse

  • The little finger symbolises your descendants, your children.

To better understand, take the following test:

Place both hands together, palm to palm. Fold your middle fingers down. Try to pull your thumbs, which represent your parents, apart. You can, because your parents are meant to teach you how to stand on your own two feet.

Now try to separate your index fingers. You can easily do so, because your siblings are also destined to start their own families.

Now do the same with your little fingers. You can easily separate them, because, like your parents did for you, you will teach your children to become self-reliant, independent.

Now try it with your ring fingers. It’s impossible to separate them. You and your spouse are joined by a unique bond. You are destined to stay together for life! Surprising, isn’t it?

A pragmatic tradition

Another, less poetic, explanation is that there are more right-handed people than left-handed people. Thus, if the wedding ring is worn on the left hand, it is less likely to be damaged.

The ring finger and the little finger are the two least-used fingers. There is thus less risk of damaging the ring, yet the little finger is small and the ring would be too little to adorn lavishly (given that, especially in the Middle Ages, wedding rings had many decorations).

The wedding ring is worn on the left hand in many countries. But not in all. Indeed, in Spain (except Catalonia), Germany, Austria, Poland, Russia, Brazil, Lebanon and more, they wear the wedding ring on the right hand.

Right hand or left hand, the team at Bijouterie Molitor looks forward to helping you find the wedding ring of your dreams! ♥

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