We all know that a wedding ring is a symbol of marriage but, do you know why or every wondered why a wedding ring is worn on the third finger on the left hand? To the early Egyptians they see a circle having no beginning or end as a symbol for eternity and so, finger ring was first used in the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt around 2800 B.C. Thus, the wedding ring having a circular form, symbolises the endless love and unbreakable bond between both the bride and groom together for eternity. It is therefore given as a token of love since it represents a promise of such unity. Likewise, it also signifies and let others know about ones marital status and that the person's heart, love and commitment are limited to the giver of that ring - the love and bond between husband and wife.
But why it is worn on the third finger of the left hand? Well, the western custom of placing the ring on the third finger of the left hand was originated with the Greeks. In the third century B.C. Greek physicians with their misguided interpretation of human anatomy thought that a vein of blood ran directly from the third finger on the left hand to the heart. The vein was called vena amoris, or the vein of love. Thus, it was compelling and logical that the third finger should be the perfect part of the body to bear a ring symbolizing eternal love and commitment.
The Romans then in turn adopted the ring practice of the Greeks incorrect human anatomy without any scientific interpretation of their own. In the 12th century Pope Innocent III ordained that marriages must be celebrated in the church, and that the ceremony must include a marriage ring. Consequently, the custom of giving rings as a token of love and fidelity was adopted by Christians thus, giving wedding ring a religious significance. It was then that wearing a ring became a public pledge to honor the marriage contract between the unity of two people sharing their undying love for each other for eternity. During Roman times its civilization (the State) and early Christianity (the Roman Catholic Church) were closely linked so this greatly influence the wearing of a wedding ring to readily be accepted by the public. By the sixteenth century, the King of England (King Edward VI) officially designated the third finger as the ring finger and the left hand (the side of the heart), as the ‘marriage’ hand. In 1549 the Book of Common Prayer declared that the wedding ring should be placed on the left hand.
It is also said in other belief that in the 17th century Christian influence and belief in the Trinity started the custom of placing ring on each of the first three fingers ( not counting the thumb) of the left hand to represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, before it was finally left on the third finger.
In spite of modern science of the human anatomy, the tradition of wearing wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand continues and is recognized in many countries around the world to this day. In some European countries though, you will find that brides do wear their wedding rings on the right hand.
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