While some of us don’t think twice about the digit that our wedding band will eventually be resting on, there is an interesting history regarding the wedding ring finger. Around the world and throughout time, people have chosen a particular hand and finger for reasons of tradition, cultural significance, personal preference or religion. Here is a brief history on the variations of the wedding ring finger.

The traditional wedding ring finger is the fourth finger of the left hand. The reason for this was originally derived from the Ancient Roman idea that the vein in this finger, known as the vena amoris (Latin for “vein of love”) was connected directly to the heart. This belief has since been disproved, as all fingers have veins that lead to similar places, but the tradition of using this digit as the primary wedding ring finger has held fast. Today many still reference the vena amoris and feel that this finger makes wearing a wedding ring more meaningful.

Despite this predominance, there has been some fluidity as to which finger has been used as the wedding ring finger throughout time and across the world. The Gauls (50 BC-486 AD) would wear their wedding rings on their middle finger. During the 1800s in England, wearing a wedding band on one’s thumb was not uncommon.

In modern cultures around the world there can be some variation as well. In South American countries like Argentina and Brazil, couples will often wear their engagement rings on the fourth finger of the right hand, and switch hands (and sometimes upgrade their bands in the process) once married. This is reversed in the Greek Orthodox tradition, where a bride will wear her ring on her left hand prior to her marriage, switching it to her right after the ceremony.

During modern Jewish ceremonies, the ring is generally placed on the second or index finger, but usually moved to the fourth finger after the ceremony. Due to ancient Roman tradition and factors like religion, people in countries like the Netherlands and Austria often choose to wear their bands permanently on the right hand. In China, couples will wear their wedding rings on opposite hands (i.e. his on the left and hers on the right) as part of an ancient custom.

No matter which finger you choose as your wedding ring finger, the meaning and sentiment behind your band remains the same. To find the perfect addition to your wedding ring finger, check out Mens-Wedding-Rings.com online selection of men’s wedding bands in both traditional and contemporary materials.

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