History of Wedding Ring Customs and Engagement Ring Tradition

Wedding Ring History

The custom of exchanging rings on the wedding day during the marriage ceremony originates from ancient history. As far back as the 13th century BC the Egyptians were already exchanging rings.

In antiquity, when life expectancy was much lower than today, husbands celebrated a ritual to ensure that the spirits of their wives would not leave them too soon. The husband tied the ankles and the wrists of his wife with cords of grass in the belief that these fastenings would maintain her spirit inside her.

At the time of the Roman empire the ring was made of iron; those of gold only could be used by senators and magistrates. Then, the custom expanded to other socioeconomic classes.

Wedding rings began to be used in the 5th century. Although their cost was very high for many people, it was at this time that the Church accepted them as part of the wedding ceremony.

The Tradition of the Engagement Ring

In the Bible, even as early as in the Old Testament, we see that one would ask for the hand of the fiancee with a ring. This tradition has come down through the ages to the present day. In the 9th century, Pope Nicholas I, decreed that the act of giving the ring to the fiancee is now an official declaration of the intention to marry.

The Gold and Diamond Ring

The fiance gives the engagement ring to the fiancee to symbolize his love without end, by its circular form. Although rings can be made of many materials, most often the engagement ring is made of gold and diamonds, which means that the love will be as strong and pure as those materials.

Today, it is customary that the ring that the fiancee receives must go on left hand.    

The third finger of the left hand (located between the little finger - or pinkie - and your middle finger), is used as the ring finger. The use of this finger to place the ring is based on the old belief, originating in Angient Greece, that the vein of that finger communicates directly with the heart.

Marriage Proposal Customs and Superstitions

In the past, when the marriage proposal was a more formal procedure, the future husband would send his friends or members of his family as his representatives so that they would become acquainted with the future bride and her family.

If the friends or family of the they future bride or groom saw a blind man, a one-armed person, or a pregnant woman during their stay, it was believed that the marriage could be predestined to failure. However, wolves, pigeons or goats were good signs.


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