Why do we wear wedding rings on the fourth digit of the left hand?
May 13, 2016
When it comes to the big day, the bride and groom exchange rings during their ceremony to symbolise their lifelong commitment and love to one another.
But why are wedding rings worn on the fourth digit of the left hand?
It’s a biological thing
In Western tradition, the wedding ring and engagement ring are always worn on the finger between the little and middle finger. This can be traced back to traditional beliefs before it was discovered how the human circulatory system worked.
It was believed that a vein called the “vena amoris”, or the vein of love, ran directly from the heart to the ring finger of the left hand.
This connection between the hand and heart meant that wearing a ring on this finger was a symbol of love the between the couple.
However, after the discovery of how the circulatory system works, experts revealed that the scientific theory was incorrect, as all fingers have a similar vein structure.
Why do we wear rings?
The tradition of wearing symbolic rings can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, and the use of metal rings to symbolise a person was “promised” to another took place during Roman times.
In England, the Book of Common Prayer from 1549 said that the groom should put the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand during the wedding as a “token and a pledge”.
However, even by the 17th and 18th centuries, the ring was often placed on different fingers – and even the thumb – after the ceremony.
Is it the same across the world?
Married couples from the UK and many other Western countries were the wedding ring on the fourth digit of their left hand.
However, other European countries including Germany, Poland, Russia and Spain wear the ring on their right hand instead.
Certain traditions exist in traditional Jewish wedding ceremonies where the ring is placed on the middle finger or the thumb. This is becoming less common nowadays, and more Jewish people opt to move the ring after the ceremony.
So there we have it, next time you are attending a wedding, you know why the ring is placed where it is! If you require any wedding umbrellas, whether for your own big day or as a gift to another, why not take a look at the large selection on our website?