Traditions: Why Are Wedding Rings Worn on The Left Hand?

Because our history of the engagement ring is one of our most read posts ever (if you haven’t read it, check it out here!) We are expanding on that idea in today’s tradition.

Throughout history, wedding rings and engagement rings have been worn on both hands, and many fingers, including thumbs! So why, in western culture, do we wear our rings on the fourth finger (or ring finger) of our left hands?

The idea of wearing your wedding ring on the fourth finger of your hand comes from a variety of places.  One idea stems from Roman Tradition.  The Romans believed that the Vena Amoris or the Vein of Love could be found in the fourth finger of the left hand and that this vein connected directly with the heart.  While that has turned out to be false, it is still a very cute idea!

Another idea has stemmed from an old tradition that each of your fingers represents different people in your life.  Your thumb representing your parents, your index finger representing your siblings, your middle fingers representing yourself, your ring fingers representing your life partners, and your pinkies representing your children.  If you place your fingers palms together, bending your middle fingers in towards yourself knuckle to knuckle, you will be able to pull apart your thumbs, index fingers, and pinkies because all of those people may leave you at some point in your life.  However, you will not be able to pull apart your ring fingers because your life partner will be with you forever.  Adorable!

As far as wearing your wedding ring on your left hand goes, rings have traditionally been made of gold and other soft metals.  Because the majority of the world is right handed, it was said that the rings would not be as damaged or prone to injury if placed on the left hand.  Along those same lines, the ring finger was chosen because it is one of the fewest utilized fingers on the hand.

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