In many countries, wedding rings are considered visual markers of marital status. But, do you know how this tradition originated? And how it becomes a part of many cultures and wedding traditions around the globe? We explore the meaning of these rings that show the sacred relationships in many cultures. The basic idea of getting into a blessed relationship to spend life together is the same throughout the countries, but they may have different but beautiful traditions. For instance, not every nation considers the fourth finger of the left hand as a ring finger for an engagement or wedding. Here are some notable wedding traditions around the globe.
Wedding Rings in Asia:
In Asian countries, people belong to varied religions and customs, so they follow different traditions as per their norms. In India, women get the toe ring as an engagement ring, and in West Bengal, Hindu women get iron bangles rather than a diamond ring. When it comes to Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc., you will not find any specific norm of a best wedding ring. However, women get the gift of simple gold rings in engagement ceremonies. When it comes to Chinese wedding culture, you will not find the concept of wedding or engagement rings. Though, Chinese women receive rings or jewelry as a traditional gift at their wedding.
Wedding rings in Africa:
Native cultures in Africa feature the Kenyan culture, in which African women wear ornate beaded jewelry instead of luxurious gemstones or metal jewels. The colorful and large beaded jewelry shows the social status and wealth of a woman. They also believe that this beaded jewelry protects them from evil eyes, evil spirits, and spells. Wedding rings are not customary in their wedding tradition. Though, women prefer rings to wear as an ornament.
Wedding rings in Europe:
In many Eastern countries of Europe such as Poland, Russia, Germany, etc., the bride and groom wear their wedding rings on their right hand rather than the left hand. They usually prefer unique ring designs to feature the elegance and grace in them. The design features interlocking bands of plain gold, silver, or platinum. The three metal bands interlocking create the triple rolling rings that also denote the Holy Trinity of Christians. They believe this ring can protect the couple from evil spirits. In France, people prefer wearing colored gemstones rings instead of diamond rings because they look more royal and luxurious. The highly preferred stones for wedding rings are sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. Many Irish Women consider Claddagh-style rings as sacred wedding rings. The Claddagh design features two hands that hold a heart with a crown on top. This ring symbolizes the married status in Irish tradition.
Wedding Rings in North America:
North Americans consider wedding bands as a milestone of their life. Bride and Groom prefer simple silver rings ornamented with a gemstone for engagement and wedding. They wear the engagement band on the fourth finger of the right hand. However, they wear a wedding band on their left hand on the fourth finger. They also switch their engagement ring to the opposite hand, on the top of a wedding ring after marriage. Many European people also follow this women wedding ring tradition as a sacred ritual of a wedding.
Some indigenous North Americans prefer adding colors to their wedding jewelry, so they consider silver jewelry ornamented with vibrant stones, such as turquoise, shells, red coral, etc. They also use the same preference in their wedding and engagement bands. Furthermore, their wedding bands may also have the engraved sign of sun, fruit, elk, buffalo, tree, etc., because they have the sacred belief in these symbols for couple protection from evil spirits or spells.
Wedding Rings in South America
In countries like Argentina, couples only get engagement bands. So, they use the same ring on a wedding day as well. In South America, you will find different traditions regarding wedding bands. Some wear engagement bands on the right until they get married. Then after the wedding, they switch the ring from right to left hand.
Wedding Rings in Western World:
In Western countries such as the UK, France, Canada, etc., people have the old Latin belief, i.e., the finger having the vein amoris goes directly to the heart. Thus, most couple wears a wedding band on the third finger of the left hand. However, many German women prefer wearing wedding bands on the right hand, as they believe the right hand’s finger is more sacred for wedding bands. They also call these rings eternity rings because they consider it is an outward sign of their strong bond with their partner that would last for all eternity.
Wedding Rings in Nordic Countries:
In most Nordic Countries such as Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, both bride and groom exchange their rings to inform their affirmation for marriage. Their engagement bands consist of gold or platinum. They do not prefer embedding gemstones to their wedding bands because they want a decent and elegant ring. In recent years, women have also been initiating wedding proposals by presenting the wedding ring to men. This trend is changing the norms for the ideal wedding.
Wedding Ring Traditions according to Religions:
Islam: In Islam, there is no rule to wear an engagement or wedding band. However, Muslim women wear jewelry for decorative purposes, and men do not wear any gold jewelry as it is not permissible for men in Islam.
- Hindus: In Hindu culture, gold jewelry and iron bangles are the ultimate wedding jewelry for women. However, there is no specified tradition of wedding rings.
- Catholicism: Catholics believe the left is evil, so they consider wearing a wedding band on the right hand. However, not all Catholics believe in this rule. For instance, people in the Netherlands wear their ring on their left hand. Still, there is a large Catholic community with a belief in sinister.
- Protestants: Many Protestants prefer wearing an engagement, wedding, or eternity ring on the left hand. They find the romantic meaning behind it, i.e., the left hand has a vein of love that goes directly to the heart.