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Why a wedding ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand

Published Wednesday, September 07, 2005

We all know that a wedding ring is a symbol of marriage but, do you know why or every wondered why a wedding ring is worn on the third finger on the left hand? To the early Egyptians they see a circle having no beginning or end as a symbol for eternity and so, finger ring was first used in the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt around 2800 B.C. Thus, the wedding ring having a circular form, symbolises the endless love and unbreakable bond between both the bride and groom together for eternity. It is therefore given as a token of love since it represents a promise of such unity. Likewise, it also signifies and let others know about ones marital status and that the person's heart, love and commitment are limited to the giver of that ring - the love and bond between husband and wife.

But why it is worn on the third finger of the left hand? Well, the western custom of placing the ring on the third finger of the left hand was originated with the Greeks. In the third century B.C. Greek physicians with their misguided interpretation of human anatomy thought that a vein of blood ran directly from the third finger on the left hand to the heart. The vein was called vena amoris, or the vein of love. Thus, it was compelling and logical that the third finger should be the perfect part of the body to bear a ring symbolizing eternal love and commitment.

The Romans then in turn adopted the ring practice of the Greeks incorrect human anatomy without any scientific interpretation of their own. In the 12th century Pope Innocent III ordained that marriages must be celebrated in the church, and that the ceremony must include a marriage ring. Consequently, the custom of giving rings as a token of love and fidelity was adopted by Christians thus, giving wedding ring a religious significance. It was then that wearing a ring became a public pledge to honor the marriage contract between the unity of two people sharing their undying love for each other for eternity. During Roman times its civilization (the State) and early Christianity (the Roman Catholic Church) were closely linked so this greatly influence the wearing of a wedding ring to readily be accepted by the public. By the sixteenth century, the King of England (King Edward VI) officially designated the third finger as the ring finger and the left hand (the side of the heart), as the ‘marriage’ hand. In 1549 the Book of Common Prayer declared that the wedding ring should be placed on the left hand.

It is also said in other belief that in the 17th century Christian influence and belief in the Trinity started the custom of placing ring on each of the first three fingers ( not counting the thumb) of the left hand to represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, before it was finally left on the third finger.

In spite of modern science of the human anatomy, the tradition of wearing wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand continues and is recognized in many countries around the world to this day. In some European countries though, you will find that brides do wear their wedding rings on the right hand.

Did You know also that:

  • Roman physician's also used the left hand third finger as the "healing finger" to stir mixture of drugs. This according to their belief, would let the physician that is administering the drugs to readily recognized any potential toxic concoction in his “heart” before it was administered to the patient.
  • There are no muscles inside the human fingers. The muscles that are responsible for bending the finger joints are located in the palm and also up in the mid forearm. These muscles are connected to the finger bones by tendons, which pull on and move the fingers.
  • The reason why finger joints only have wrinkles and creases is because the joint moves. If a finger joint should stops moving, the creases eventually flatten out and disappear.
  • Fingernails are structurally modified hairs. Nails grow faster on your dominant hand, and they grow more in summer than in winter.
  • The action of using one's fingers to make quotation marks in the air during speech is called Air quotes or finger quotes. From Wikipedia: “The practice of gesticulating punctuation is typically done with both hands held up, with the index and middle fingers on each hand curled down during the phrase being "quoted"; a common variant is to temporarily curl the fingers at the beginning and end of the phrase.”

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Wow, this was a very interesting read. Thanks for that. I like your blog. It's so informative and fun!

But I am afraid that most of the brides are even ignorant of this fact.

They don't often respect the great institution of marriage anymore.

In personal appreciation of what you are doing to spread the word of knowledge and also in appreciation of the fact that you have inspired me to compose my latest poem "Veni Amoris" to honour your genius, you are the first blogger that I am publishing the link on Kisses & Roses.

The legacy of knowledge is the greatest heritage.

You have a very interesting site .... it caught my eye and pulled me! I ask these kinds of questions and never can find an answer. Keep up the good work!


Thank you Elli and Mamma Mouse. I am glad that you find this blog interesting and informative. This is very encouraging.

Orikinla Osinachi,thanks for such kind words, it is very encouraging.I am so honored! : ) You are also the first to be listed on my “Favorite Blogs”. Your great writings keep me visiting your site ever so often.

To make the link in your poem “Did You Know” remain appropriate to my article on my blog for future visitors, it would be better to use the Archive link given below since, new post goes to the top.


Thanks again!

In the UK the wedding ring is worn on the left hand, but here in Germany it is worn on the right hand (3rd finger)

I actually enjoyed reading that.

You learn something new everyday it seems.

I really enjoyed reading your blog. Very informative. Good luck in BOTB.

Actually its becoming a tradition in India not to wear a wedding ring at all.

Mackin with Pappy

Well, i could say that your blog was totally very encouraging,when it comes to me of course i loved to wear a ring it traditional and its very important.

by: rhianne

Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck! Web Design Company

Wedding ring is the symbol of love and affection towards your partner. so, make it something special.
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Engagements rings are really a sign of love and affection among the two lovers or couple. I am also going to get married married in few days and am very possessive about my relationship and hope in future this engagement ring will bind me and my fiancee with its love and affection.

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Nice thought:- Why we wear a wedding ring at third finger?
Interesting article.

Very interesting article. I just got recently married and never understood until I read this. It's funny that you mentioned that people wear the ring on left hand because it originated from the western culture but people who are married in the eastern part of the world wear their rings on the right hand.

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Interesting layout on your blog. I really enjoyed reading it and also I will be back to read more in the future.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful trivia. I never knew that it originated with the Greeks.

Thank you for the awesome info. I didn't know that was the reason why it was worn there.

Very nice article !

Thanks for this much needed post

Its really amazing to see in every aspect of life greek thinking is involved

Hope to see more posting related to Wedding rings

I appreciate that you have shared something which most of the people does not know about the fact which everyone does in their life.

Thanks for sharing this information about wedding rings.

I have heard about this from my boyfriend and it's really sweet to hear this fact from him. Right now, I'm actually contemplating to buy silver coins and save it for the future. Who knows? It might melt and transform into wedding rings.

This comment has been removed by the author.

For couples who are wearing wedding bands they must read this article cause it'll enlighten them on how important it is for married people to wear their wedding ring on the right finger. I think, simple things such as wearing the couple's band should be followed to prove that they will never disregard the sacredness of their marriage. Well, actually the ring itself signifies that the couple decided to cherish one another for the rest of their lives so I guess that summarizes what is the importance of wedding.

They...who are they? do you mean women?

I'm a little surprised that the tradition came from a mere misconception. Still, it doesn't really matter what finger it's on, as long as my wife is wearing the golden ring I bought from the local melbourne jewellers.

Very useful article. A lot of couple getting married don't know the significance of rings!

Well, this is the most common question that teen age people ask to each other when they are in love.. Very lovely answer to all those teen age lovers.. Cheers!

That's one good explanation. I know some who sell gold long island that tells a story behind every piece of jewelry or gold. It amazes me how it is made or where it even came from.

Good to know, although I never really gave it much thought. Besides, you probably won't have time to think about that when you're shopping for the perfect one at places like the wedding accessories perth shop.

Interesting, but why then is/was the custom for Europeans to wear the wedding ring on the right hand? Orthodox Christians still do.

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That's an interesting fact. It would be great for couples planning to wed to learn about this. It makes the wedding more meaningful.

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