The Story of Wedding Ring Finger

The ancient cultures had a sweet reasoning!

Look at somebody who has a ring on his right hand pointing finger, and you can bet he’s not married. A ring on the left finger of the ring, however, means that the person is “busy”. The choice of wedding ring finger seems arbitrary, but there is actually a historical reason why it became known as the “ring finger”. How and why most people hold the ring in their left hand.

The story of wedding ring finger

The wedding ring tradition has its origins in ancient Egypt, after archaeologists found evidence in the hieroglyphics that brides were supposed to wear a ring, according to the BBC. And other ancient cultures also wore wedding rings; people have placed wedding rings on the fingers of the left hand ring since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

The reason why the fourth finger was selected? There is a poignant explanation. “In ancient times, it was thought that there was a vein in this finger in the left hand that goes straight to the heart,” explains Bernadette Chapman, founder of the British Alliance of Wedding Planners. And the heart, of course, was thought to be the heart of our emotions at the time. That is why the Romans called this vein, vena amoris, Latin for “vein of love”.

Our knowledge of the human body has evolved a lot since then, of course. Most importantly … we humans have no such vein, unfortunately. In addition, we now know that the heart is a body for pumping blood – but that has not stopped us from continuing to talk about it, in romantic, emotional contexts. Likewise, we still wear wedding rings on the fourth toes!

Variations of tradition

Despite the prevalence of this tradition of the ring finger of marriage, especially in all Western cultures, not everyone follows it. “Some cultures choose freedom and individuality when it comes to deciding on their own,” explains business coach Jennifer Claire Constantante. “Couples from European countries, such as Austria, Denmark and Germany, actually hold the rings in their right hand.” Even in India, “because the left hand is considered unclean.”