Well...... The answer is quiet complex but so, so, so fascinating.
Wedding rings have formed an integral part of wedding ceremonies for thousands of years. Although the history is reasonably hazy, it is thought that the Egyptians started the culture of wearing rings and the first ring was in the form of a piece of grass twisted around the finger. This evolved over time to leather and then metal. The wedding ring was traditionally only worn by women, and was seen as a visual sign of ‘possession’, in the later years and particularly the ‘war years’ men began wearing wedding rings to remind them of their loved one at home.
I have always wondered why the ‘ring finger’ is called then ring finger? And why we wear our engagement and wedding rings on the left hand in Australia? The answer is quiet romantic! According to a tradition, that is believed to be derived from the Romans, the wedding ring was worn on the left hand as there was thought to be a vein running directly from the left ring finger to the heart and was referred to as the ‘Vein of Love’ or the ‘Vena Amoris’. Now although we know a lot more about the human body now and the venous system than they did back then, and we technically know that this vein does not really exist…. don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story!
Have you ever noticed that lots of Asian cultures still wear their wedding ring on the ‘ring finger’, but wear it on the right or left hand? Well… have I got a story for you! The Chinese have given a beautiful, romantic and to be honest quiet convincing theory as to why it should be worn there (and it turns into a pretty cool demonstration)
The Chinese believe that each finger represents the past, present and future generations of a family unit. The thumb represents your parents, the index finger represents your siblings, the middle finger represents you, the ring ringer represents your partner and the pinky represents your children.
So, give this a go…
Place your palms together in prayer position
With all finger tips still touching, bend the middle finger toward each other (the tips of the middle fingers will end up bending downward into your palm and the knuckles will be touching)
Now attempt to separate the pinky fingers- You will be able to do this as they represent your children and one day your children will leave home, build their own houses and families
Now attempt to separate your thumbs- They separate easily, as they represent your parents, your parents are not destined to live with you forever as you will leave home and build your own life and have your own family.
Now attempt to separate your index fingers- These will also separate, as they represent your siblings who will go onto live their own lives with their own partner and children
Now attempt to separate your ring fingers…. The ring finger represents you and your partner, and they will not open no matter how hard to try! Come on give it a go, you won’t be able to get them apart. Pretty cool hey! The Chinese believe this represents an unbreakable union between you and your partner and therefore the wedding ring is worn on this finger as a symbol of an unbreakable marriage. (Have a look at the you tube video if you like)
So… there you go, a little bit of trivia for you. You might even be able to win the next trivia competition down the Beachfront! You could incorporate a succinct version of these stories into the introduction, to your ring exchange- they are so romantic and thought provoking… if only modern science didn’t come up with disproving theories!