Cultural Differences: Wearing Bridal Rings on the Left or the Right Hand
Around the world, wearing a wedding ring sets the tone for the commitment of marriage, as it is a public symbol of one’s wedding vows. The traditional practice of exchanging of rings and wearing them on the fourth finger has a history and significance that has changed over thousands of years. Depending on a person’s country of residence and religion, they may wear their engagement and wedding rings on the left hand or the right.
People wear wedding rings on their left hands in many Western countries, such as the United States, Mexico, Chile, Slovenia, Iran, and European nations including the UK, Italy, and France. In Asian countries, people also tend to wear the band on the left hand.
In Northern and Eastern European countries, including Denmark, Norway, Russia, Poland, and Bulgaria, it is more common to wear the wedding ring on the fourth finger of the right hand. In Portugal, Spain, and Greece, this is also the custom. Swedish brides wear unique wedding ring sets of three: the engagement ring, the wedding band, and the ring of motherhood.
Traditional Indian practice is to wear the wedding ring on the right hand, because the left hand is considered unclean. However, modern Indians may wear the ring on the left hand to match the custom in countries such as the United States. Orthodox Greeks also wear the wedding ring on the right hand, in accordance with Roman tradition; the word “left” in Latin means “sinister,” whereas the word for right is “dexter,” the root of “dexterity.”
In Brazil, the fiancé and fiancée wear plain bands as engagement rings on their right hands, and upon saying their vows, they switch the rings to the left hand. It is common in Germany and Netherlands to do the opposite: that is, to wear engagement rings on the left hand and wedding rings on the right.
In the Jewish tradition, the groom slips the ring on the index finger of the bride because it is the most prominent finger. Today, the bride typically moves the band to her ring finger after the ceremony.
Whether one wears engagement and wedding rings on the left hand or right varies by country and religion. However, there are wedding ring sets to suit any tradition, and the customer service staff at My Trio Rings is more than happy to help find the set for you.
Photo Credit: Grand Vela Rivieras Maya