Wedding band: Lore & tradition

 13 Feb 2016 - 13:10

Wedding band: Lore & tradition

By Anisha Bijukumar 

When Karen and Ren decided to tie the knot, the first thing the couple did together was to shop for a wedding band as they believed that it was the first step towards committing themselves to each other. 

Though they had been together for last four years, it was with a ring that they announced their status to the world. In their words “a wedding ring on our fourth finger in the left hand was a way for us to express our love and dedication for each other while also announce to the world that we are taken”. Wedding band or engagement rings hold a lot of significance for committed couples and world over there are beliefs surrounding it. 

Some believe that the oldest recorded exchange of rings as a wedding symbol comes from ancient Egypt, about 4800 years ago. There are few others who affirm that it is the Romans who set the tradition of giving iron finger rings to their marital partners, symbolizing commitment and financial support to the bride. Rings made from iron and bronze were traditionally used, after which generations moved to silver, gold and, now, platinum bands. 

For most, wedding rings like its shape (circle) symbolize no beginning and no end wishing eternal love among couples.  According to statistics over 70% of the couple wear wedding rings on their fourth finger of the left hand. And a belief from the Roman mythology is that it is worn on this finger as a vein (vena amoris or vein of love) from this finger leads straight to the heart. Though scientifically this myth has been proved wrong, couples world over still believe the myth to have some truth and the tradition continues. 

Chinese follow an interesting theory about wearing their wedding band on the left ring finger. According to them, each finger represents generations of your family with thumb being parents, index being siblings, middle finger being yourself, fourth finger represents your partner while the small finger represent your kids. 

When you hold both your hands facing each other and bend your middle finger at the knuckles, it is almost impossible to separate two ring fingers, while other fingers can be easily held apart. Both the ring fingers represents the husband-wife in a couple and this little Chinese experiment just proves that they are meant to be together for a life time even while the others might leave and go their separate ways.

If a wedding band is studded with a precious stone then these too have certain meaning associated with it. Stones such as sapphire in a wedding ring means marital happiness and aquamarine stands for marital harmony. Meanwhile pearl is considered to bring bad luck in marital life as its shape echoes that of a tear. 

It is interesting to note that couples in many countries such as Russia, Greece, Germany, etc the wedding ring is worn on the ring finger on the right hand. 

Traditions, myths or beliefs apart, a marriage ring is a custom that is here to remain for the many generations to come.

The Peninsula