The Wedding Ring – Customs and Traditions
Undoubtedly, everyone at least one time has walked by a jewelry store’s front window and paused to look at the beautiful arrangements of wedding ring styles on display. For many single people, just glancing at such a wedding ring display may make you dream of the day you will marry.
For married couples, whether you have been married for quite a while or only for a few years, viewing a wedding ring display may bring back memories of your own wonderful wedding celebration. In all cultures, wedding ring symbolizes the unity and fidelity of two people, but these different societies also have different customs associated with the wedding ring.
Wedding Ring – Differing Traditions
Generally accepted as common knowledge, the wedding ring, in many places referred to as the wedding band, is a ring usually made of a precious material such as gold and silver. Depending on the culture’s tradition and customs, it may be worn on the third finger, more commonly known as the ring finger, on either the left or right hand. The wedding ring symbolizes a commitment by one person to another. In most Anglo – Franco cultures, such as the United States, UK, and Western Europe, the wedding ring is worn on the left hand. While many Eastern European cultures such as Slovakia, Germany, Finland, Russia, and Poland, the wedding ring is worn on the right hand.
With many cultures, the wedding ring is the final gift given from one spouse to the other. In almost every culture the wedding ring is preceded in the relationship by an engagement ring. In most Western Cultures, including Western Europe and the United States the husband and wife will engrave their names and the wedding date as a sign of their commitment to each other.
In both the United Kingdom and the United States, the responsibility of caring for the soon to be joined man and wife falls to the best man. The best man is responsible for carrying the rings to the altar and presenting them to the individual officiating, who in turn will present the rings to the bride and groom so that they may exchange them. In some instances, the rings may be carried on a pillow by a “ring bearer” usually a male child, who will present them to the best man at the altar.
Why is the Wedding Ring Worn on the Ring Finger?
During the Renaissance, it was generally accepted that the “ring finger” located on the left hand contained the “vena amoris”, also known as the love vein.
Now, each time you happen to wander by a wedding ring display at the local jewelry store in the mall, you will have and idea of what the wedding ring has meant to people of various cultures through history. You will also have an idea of what it could mean to many men and women who are looking forward to their wedding day.