Wedding rings have been exchanged as couples exchange their vows for centuries, and in so many different cultures that no one seems to know the origin of this practice. Obviously, many assume that the shape of the ring (a circle) is indicative of undying love and the continually renewed vows of the married couple. The circle is also associated with the roundness of the heavens, as well as the return of the seasons.
Rings generally have magical roots, appearing in magical tales, and folklore. Spells and incantations for the protection of the wearer ate common in themes. Today, in traditional wedding ceremonies, the rings are blessed by a priest or other religious leader, continuing the symbolic practice of giving the rings protective powers.
In addition, the choice of metals and stones used for wedding bands corresponds with the colors used to represent the sun and the moon, hence the use of silver and gold. In some cultures, one betrothed is given a silver band to represent the moon, and the other is give a gold band to represent the sun.
Wedding rings are most commonly worn on the third finger of the left hand. There are several speculations as to why this is. One reason could be because the Romans believed that a vein ran directly from this finger to the heart. Another is that the left hand was considered less “pure” than the right, and so wearing something religious and blessed on that hand “draws” the evil out. It could also symbolize the couple’s willingness to publicize their union in broad daylight.
So there you have it! If you have ever stopped to think about why exactly we use rings to declare our love and fidelity for another, ponder on the historical background of the wedding ring.