History and Symbolism Behind the Tradition of Wearing a Wedding Ring
If you wonder where the tradition of wearing a wedding ring comes from...
Wedding rings are the most famous symbol of the marriage, which has a mysterious and long history. The oldest recorded exchange of wedding rings comes from the Egypt, 4800 years ago. Reeds, sedges and rushes were twisted and braided into rings.
The circle was the symbol of eternity, which had no beginning and end. The hole in the center of the ring also had significance. It considered as a door leading to things both known and unknown. To give a woman a ring signifies immortal love, which last forever.
The first choice was hemp. Later people decided that they wanted a material, which will last longer. They opted for leather or bone to craft their token of love. The more expensive was the material, the more love was shown to the receiver. The value of the ring also demonstrated the wealth of the giver.
The Romans also eventually adopted this tradition but with their own tradition. Rather than offering a ring to a woman as a symbol of love, they awarded them as a symbol of ownership. In Rome rings were later made of iron. It symbolized permanence and strength. It is also said that the Romans were the first to engrave their rings. They wore it like we do today, on the third finger of the left hand, because of a belief that the vein of that finger directly traveled from the heart. This legend was later taken up by the Greeks, when they conquered Egypt under the generalship of Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.
Early Christian marriages had a ritual to wear the wedding ring in the third finger. Interestingly, in many countries, even today, including Greece, Norway, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Germany, Austria, Portugal and Spain, the wedding ring in worn on the ring finger of the right hand and not the left. In Jewish tradition, the groom places the ring on the bride's index finger, and not the ring finger.
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