For years couples have used engagement rings to symbolize their love and tighten their bond with each other. But have you ever wondered where this tradition came from? Why do we use rings as a sort of marriage contract? Well, we here at Four Mine would like to give you a little history lesson so you and your spouse can understand this great tradition.
Even though there is no exact date, many historians believed that the Ancient Egyptians were the ones that became the tradition. The rings were often made from reed, sages and other plants which were twisted and braided into rings. The circle symbolized eternity, which has no beginning or end. The hole represented a door leading to things known and unknown. Giving a woman a ring signified immortal and infinite love.
Over time these materials were replaced with stronger ones like ivory, leather or bone. More expensive material meant that more love was given to the receiver, as the value of the ring often indicated the wealth of the giver.
Soon Romans took up this tradition, but instead of signifying love, the rings signified ownership as Roman men would “claim” their women by giving them a ring. Roman rings were made of iron and would stand for strength and permeance. Many historians believe that the Romans were the first ones to engrave their rings.
Eventually Christians adopted the ring ceremony for marriage ceremonies. Instead of using plain rings, the rings were highly decorated. But the Church thought that such elaborate designs were “heathenous”, so the rings returned to their simplified roots and given a more spiritual look.
The Romans were believed to have created another important tradition that we still use to this day, and that is putting the ring on the left hand. The reason they did this was because they believed that there was a vein on the fourth finger called “Vena Amoris” or the “Vein of Love”, which was said to be directly linked to the heart.
Others believe that the reason why we do this is because most of the world’s population is right handed, so the left hand won’t be used as much or prone to damage. Filled with symbolism and deep meaning, wedding bands continue to play an essential role in marriages across the world.