Wedding rings are the one cultural use for rings that is ubiquitous through almost every part of the world to show that you are wed to someone, or at the very least in a committed relationship. Each civilization has adopted the practice of exchanging wedding rings, with wide variation in how it is used. For example, wedding rings date back over 5,000 years to the ancient Egyptians who would exchange rings of woven grass and reeds with their intended partner. Additionally, areas of Asia are known for wearing puzzle rings that would fall apart if removed.
Initially, women only wore wedding rings to show they had a husband. However, in the west, men began wearing wedding rings during World War II as a sign of carrying their love with them. Even with the cultural shift following the World Wars, there are many areas where it’s rare for a man to wear a wedding ring. For example, Prince William chooses not to wear a wedding ring. Moreover, parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia are the most common places where men leave wearing wedding rings to their wives. A good rule is that if a person has a band on their ring finger, it’s best to guess they are married, and you should at least ask for confirmation before you flirt with them.
This tradition also traces its origins back to the Romans, who believed that the fourth finger on the left hand was connected directly to the heart by a vein called “the vein of love.” Because of this hand-heart connection, this finger has been adopted through the ages as the ideal spot to wear one’s wedding ring.
The ring finger is the third finger on the left hand, where the wedding ring and engagement ring are worn. This is a symbol of eternal love, beauty and creativity. This belief is associated with the god, Apollo, the Sun God, in Greek mythology. Consequently, the base of the ring finger is known as the Mount of Apollo.