Different cultures throughout the planet offer varying insight into wedding ring symbolism. Throughout history, the wedding ring has represented different notions while maintaining a rather typical theme. The circle of the ring is continuous, meant to be without a single seam. This represents the continuous nature of marriage, vows, and love.
On the other hand, it can be seen as a ring placed on the finger as a sense of “ownership.” Wedding ring symbolism and implication has changed through the years and continues to evolve through time.
With special blessings and chants the ring could always be considered a sort of protection. We still carry a part of this theory with us during a wedding ceremony when the rings themselves are blessed. This is thought to be a symbolic understanding that a ring can possess protective powers and keep the wearer safe from harm and temptation. A lot of us internally still feel very strongly about the nature of our wedding ring, as it can seem like a symbol of protection on a purely emotional level.
Why do we place a wedding ring on the left hand? Why do we wear it on the third finger? Not all customs agree with this idea and there are ample societies that wear the wedding ring on the right hand. The foundation of such a custom can be traced back to Ancient Rome. The Romans were sure that this finger contained a specified artery that ran continuously from the hand to the heart. This blood vessel was thought to be only in the third finger of the left hand.
Certainly, there are plenty of left handed theories that contribute to the ongoing custom. Watches and rings frequently go on the left hand as a symbol of peace. The right hand was seen as the sword hand, and a sudden movement with the right hand could lead to the perception of danger. The left hand was seen as a hand that had restricted agility and thereby could be depended on if it made a move. That premise is clearly disputed by left handed individuals.
Present day customs are still steeped in these beliefs notwithstanding a larger understanding of left handedness. Wedding ring symbolism continues to include the appearance of the ring. Most cultures use a simple, clean band with little adorning. Celtic custom requires a beautifully crafted ring full of personal decoration. Most historians believe that the plain clean band was determined to be a symbol that could not be confused when a woman was traveling or outside of her protective territory.
Virtually every society in the world exchanges a ring before or during a wedding ceremony. Not all societies support the male requirement for a wedding ring. Each culture knows that the symbolism of the wedding ring is directly related to the commitment and assurance of a future that is sealed in togetherness.
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