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Wedding rings are one of the most recognized symbols of love and commitment from all over the world. Few things transcend the cultural barriers, such as “mama” for mother and a smile for a greeting. It’s amazing to see how one small circular band of precious metal can instantly say so much. Funny isn’t it, that the wedding can cost thousands and the slim gold or platinum band is a few hundred, yet lasts far longer than the day itself, and is worn day after day, 24/7. A small hunk of metal divides the available and the unavailable at the glimpse of an eye.

Which Hand for Wedding Rings?

The hand that wedding rings are worn on varies from country to country and culture to culture. By default, most people wear their wedding rings on the left hand.

Countries such as Colombia, Germany, Greece, Norway, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Ukraine and Venezuela traditionally wear their wedding rings on the right hand.There are also certain cultures and religious beliefs such as Orthodox Christians and Eastern Europeans who typically wear the wedding rings on the right hand. And in Greece, since many are Orthodox Christians, they also wear their wedding ring on the right hand. Jewish women will often wear their wedding bands on the right hand during ceremony, and change their wedding rings to the left hand after the ceremony.In the Netherlands, catholic people wear their wedding rings on the left, all others on the right, but in Austria, Catholic people wear the wedding bands on the right. What are Vietnamese wedding traditions? With the majority of Vietnamese weddings now being Catholic, Catholic Vietnamese families are known to exchange wedding bands at a separate church ceremony. Modern Vietnamese weddings, due to Western influence, exchange wedding bands between the bride and groom, but still include giving jewelry to the bride. For other countries, it depends on region of the country, such as Belgium.In parts of India – a toe-rings “Bichiya” are worn instead of wedding rings on a finger – and increasingly worn along with finger wedding bands. An Iron Bangle or “loha” is worn by women in eastern parts of India, such as West Bengal. Other customs, perhaps more modern, include either partner wearing the others’ wedding rings on a chain around the neck instead of the ring finger as more of a social statement of being married.

Materials of the Wedding Ring

Metal, because if it’s durability is the most common material of wedding rings, and the metal of choice, in order of popularity is: gold, platinum, titanium, tungsten, nickel silver, and stainless steel. History mentions rings of long ago were also made of hemp, wood, bone … and if you remember the old TV show Happy Days – a lifesaver candy. The metal ring often set with diamonds or other precious stones or gems.

Style of the Wedding Ring

In French speaking countries, especially France, wedding rings often consisted of 3 interwoven rings – representing the virtues of faith, hope and love.

Russian wedding bands typically consisted of 3 interlocking bands – gold, white gold and rose. Greek & Anatolian (Turkey) wore puzzle rings, which are sets of interlocking metal bands that arrange in a specific order to form a single ring. If the spouse came home and found the ring in a different arrangement, then it may have questioned the fidelity of the other. Celtic wedding rings are often engraved or embossed with a Celtic knot design to symbolize oneness and continuity. This “Claddagh” design symbolizes fidelity.For North America, typically two rings are worn on the same finger – an engagement ring, and a plain wedding band. After first anniversary or child, a gift of an eternity ring is given, typically a three ring combination. This tradition is especially observed in the UK. In whatever culture, we exchange rings as a vow of everlasting love and commitment to our partner, to stay true to one another, and to walk down life’s journey together to experience the new and exciting facets of companionship and physical union.

Categories: Wedding traditions

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