Wedding ring is symbolical of an assurance of never-ending love and loyalty. It is worn by both the bride and the bridegroom, to indicate a commitment. While the practice of exchanging wedding rings was primarily started in the European countries, it soon spread across the globe and today, it has become one of the essential marriage customs. Wedding rings mark the faithfulness and fidelity of partners, for each other, and serve as a representation of the wedding vows. While most of people wear wedding rings, there are only a counted few who know about its origin. For all such people, we have provided information on the history of wedding rings, in the lines below.
Interesting Information on Background of Wedding Rings
In early times, wedding rings were not placed around the finger, but around the extreme body parts. This was because during those times, life expectancies were low and mortality rates were high. A popular belief that generally prevailed among all the people was that a person’s spirit could just flow out of the body, ending his/her life. To curb this and keep the spirit intact, they tried new & innovative superstitions. For example, the husband would wrap twigs and grass around his new wife’s ankles and wrists, believing this would prolong her life.
The trend of wearing the ring in the third finger of the left hand was started by the Egyptians and the Romans. They believed that the vein of the third finger leads directly to the heart. Hence, it became the most appropriate place to wear the wedding ring. Though it has been scientifically refuted, people still believe the fact and are overjoyed with the feeling that the wedding rings directly connects them to their partner’s heart.
During the yester years in medieval England, bridegroom would slide the ring part-way up his bride’s thumb, index and middle finger, saying “In the name of the father, the son, and the holy ghost” as he passed each one. He then put the ring on the next available finger i.e. third finger of left hand. It was in 1500s that the practice was finally formalized, when Henry VIII’s son wrote the book ‘The Book of Common Prayer’. The book spelt English modern Protestant wedding vows and verdict on the finger on which the wedding rings should be worn.
For the early Egyptians, wedding ring was associated with supernatural powers. It was traditionally used as a never-ending band that was linked with eternal love. Later, for the Romans, the ring was believed to be an acceptance by a lady. The ring was more of like a legal agreement that bound the girl. Romans used iron rings as their wedding rings because iron was symbolic of the strength. Later, iron rings were replaced by gold and silver rings, which are in use till date.
Till twentieth century, wedding rings were associated with women only. It was in the twentieth century that men started wearing wedding rings as well. The trend started during the World War II, when most of the men were separated from their wives for a lengthy duration. It was then they started wearing wedding bands, which served as a symbol of their marriage. They took it as a reminder of their wives, who were waiting for them to return. It was a gesture of love at that time, which has sustained as a practice till date.