According to customs in civilizations all around the world today, the wedding ring finger is the fourth finger on the hand (between the middle finger and the little finger), and this is where wedding rings are supposed to be worn. There are several reasons behind this custom, and most of them are mystical and spiritual in nature. Many cultures believe this finger to be the precursor for a lot of magical power and spiritual energy in human beings.
This is a custom that has been followed since the early 11th century and its origins can be traced to certain European countries. Today, almost every country and religion in the world tells couples to wear their wedding rings on their wedding ring finger.
Wedding Ring Finger – Right or Left
The biggest confusion about the issue arises, when one sees the differences in the choice of finger between various countries. While some believe that the left ring finger is the most appropriate, some believe that the right finger is better. There is a belief which states that there is a vein in the left ring finger that runs directly to the heart. This vein is also known as the Vena Amoris, or the ‘Vein of Love’, and this is the single biggest reason for people choosing to wear their wedding rings on their left ring finger.
In some countries, the wedding and engagement ring finger differs. While the couple wears the ring on the left ring finger right after their engagement, they transfer the rings to the right sided ring finger upon getting married. Some countries which follow this custom are Germany, Norway, Bulgaria, Poland and Russia. These differences in wedding ring finger customs and beliefs exist all around the world.
The reason for wearing the ring on the right hand in some countries, arises from the belief that the left hand signifies the evil energies in a human being, while the right hand signifies goodness. This is a slightly warped belief, which would inevitably assert that all left-handed people are evil. Nevertheless, this custom is believed and followed in countries like India, Spain, Venezuela and Chile as well. The Jewish wedding ring finger for conservative Jews in Eastern European countries is also the right hand ring finger, and this is also followed by Catholics in Austria and the Netherlands. This article on engagement ring finger will also help you.
The Origin of the Ring Finger Belief
In ancient England, when the Church had just started performing official marriages, the custom that they used there led to the rise of the fourth finger as the ring finger. The groom would first place the wedding ring on the thumb and recite the prayer ‘In the name of the Father’, then he would remove it and place it on the index finger and recite the prayer ‘In the name of the Son’, then remove it and place it on the middle finger and recite the prayer ‘And of the Holy Ghost’, and then place it on the fourth finger with an ‘Amen’. This is how the fourth finger originally became the wedding ring finger, and any story that we hear after this is merely a deviation from the real source.
Over time, people started asserting that the ring was worn on this finger due to the presence of the vein, but there are many people who have opposed this idea as well. In fact, after detailed anatomical studies, many doctors arrived at the conclusion that the so-called vein of love was simply a nerve. Still, the connection between the finger and the heart was undoubted, hence the tradition continued.
A wedding between two people is a life-long commitment and one that needs to be honored, no matter what. Along with the many traditions that accompany this sacred bonding, the act of wearing rings on the wedding ring finger is something that will never change.