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Why Are Wedding Rings Worn on the 4th Finger of the Left Hand?
Wedding rings are pieces of jewelry that are worn by couples forever, symbolizing their eternal love for one another. The reason why wedding rings are known to be circular in shape is because a circle has no beginning and no end; hence why marriages are meant to last forever. During a wedding ceremony, there are certain rituals that are followed before placing the rings on the hands; however, the ring is almost always placed on the fourth finger of the left hand, which raises the question ‘why?’.
Thousand of years ago, there was a Greek and Roman belief that a vein from the fourth finger on the left hand ran directly to the heart. This vein was known as the ‘vena amoris’ also known as the vein of love. This belief led to the tradition of wearing the wedding ring on that particular finger, symbolizing the love amongst the couple being married. According to scientific evidence, this myth is not true, however many individuals still like to believe it is.
The Chinese developed a theory, which is actually really interesting and a bit fun to try. If you look at your left hand, each finger is a representation of the past, present and future generations within your family. For example, the thumb represents your parents, your index finger represents your siblings, the middle finger represents yourself, your fourth finger represents your life-partner and the fifth finger, your pinkie, represents your future children.
Now it’s time for a little experiment. Place your hands together and bend your middle fingers together, allowing for your knuckles to touch. When doing this, allow for your other remaining fingers to touch.
Begin to pull each finger apart, individually. You will see that your thumbs will pull apart because you are not destined to be with your parents forever. Now do the same action with your index finger and pinkie; you will see the same results. According to the Chinese theory, you are not meant to be together forever with your siblings, as well as your future children as they will leave the home and start a family of their own.
Now try to do the same action with your ring finger, which represents your life partner. When you try to separate these fingers apart, it doesn’t lift as easily as the other fingers, right? This is because you and your life partner are meant to be together forever.
The more ‘practical myth’ behind wearing the wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand is that since most individuals are right handed, this means that the left hand is not used as much; the ring will not be as damaged than if it were used on the right hand. Also, the ring finger is one of the least used fingers after the pinkie.
Fun Fact: Did you know that not every country uses the wedding ring on the left hand? Countries such as Spain, Venezuela, Peru, India, Norway and Denmark wear their wedding bands on the right hand, however still on the fourth finger. It is said that the wedding ring is worn on the right hand because it is the more dominant of the two, symbolizing the strength of the marriage between a husband and a wife.
So after a few myths, theories and traditions, at the end of the day it is your decision on which hand and finger you will wear your wedding ring. As long as there is that eternal love between the bride and groom, nothing else should matter, right?