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Couple Promise Rings Set as symbols What does the ring exchange mean?

Since the beginning of time, rings have been exchanged in marriage ceremonies. Wedding rings, that had a different meaning in the past, are now viewed as a symbol for loyalty, love and commitment in a partnership. Find out everything you need to learn about wedding rings and their significance, as well as the traditions surrounding the exchange of a ring in this article.

Wedding rings as symbols - a brief history

In the past there was only one ring given to the bride at the time of marriage - the woman. This was to show that the woman belonged either to a family or to a man. The ring was typically used to signify that the man was the one who received the woman's inheritance. The ring was generally made of iron and was only given to the woman.

In 855 AD, there was a shift in the area of rings being exchanged: Pope Nicholas I gave the wedding rings a new meaning when the ring was declared to be an Christian symbol of love, eternity and marriage. In the wedding ceremony, the couple exchanged rings and pledged their eternal love and a bond.

The wedding ring has been an essential part of weddings at least since the 13th century. Since then, the wedding ring is a symbol of love and loyalty in a marriage. While wedding rings are traditionally only exchanged at church weddings and weddings, newlyweds are now wearing rings on each other's fingers in the registry office.

Why is the ring symbolizing marriage?

The infinity of marriage is represented by the single ring with its unbroken curve. The two rings that are intertwined on the contrary, represent the strong bond between the married couple, that can be broken only by breaking one of the rings. The two intertwined rings are frequently used as a symbol for everything associated with the wedding.

Customs and superstitions surrounding the exchange of rings

There are some customs and superstitions associated with the exchange of ring. Find out the most famous ones below.

Which hand is the ring positioned on?

The answer to the question of which hand the wedding ring should be put on varies by the country. In Germany the wedding ring is usually worn on the right. However, in other countries such as Italy or the USA the ring is typically worn on the left.

Ancient Romans were the first to wear wedding rings on their left hand as well, believing that a vein of love drew from the left ring to the heart. However, each couple should decide for themselves in which ring will be worn.

Wearing the same rings

Rings from the same wedding is a custom that may not be widely known. According to this custom newlyweds should wear the same rings, if possible made from the same material, style, etc. Only the size could of course vary. This is seen as an indication of the agreement within the family, and the union that couples develop at the time of the wedding.

The first test for marriage is to find a common style and design of wedding rings. This means that personal preferences and desires are put aside in the interest of the union and decisions are made in the spirit of 'we'.

Do not wear other people's wedding rings

Another custom states that wedding rings must be brand new and never worn by anyone else. Superstition says that wearing someone else's wedding ring can cause bad luck for the couple. Also, one's own wedding rings should not be handed to other people. It is believed that if one permits a friend to wear one's wedding ring, then one's spouse will eventually cheat.

Rings are a signification for putting them on

The act of putting rings on is believed to reveal the future of the marriage. It is believed that if the ring slips over the woman's finger easily, then the man is in the control. If it remains in middle of the ring, then the woman is the one in charge.

The wedding ring is lost

Another belief is that the wedding band should not be thrown away or lost, because it could bring bad luck or end of a marriage.

The ring exchange is a part of religious traditions

When it comes to exchanging rings, there are different traditions based on religion. Find out more about it below.

Wedding rings in Christianity

In many Christian church writings the two intertwined ring symbols are used to represent the union. The only way to break the marriage was if one of the rings were broken. This symbolises 'until death do us part'. The rings are blessed prior to the wedding ceremony, and then exchanged immediately following the ceremony. The bride and groom are then blessed.

Wedding rings in Judaism

At the traditional Jewish wedding where the bride is given the so-called wedding ring from her husband underneath the chuppah - a wedding canopy. The custom is that it must be plain, with no engravings or stones. The bride should not place a ring on the chuppah, which is placed on the wedding ring of the groom.

After the wedding the bride can receive a ring decorated by her husband. She can also give a ring as a gift to her partner.

Wedding rings in Islam

In Islam, the actual ceremony of wedding is usually quite simple. It is not unusual to have only two people marry and two witnesses appear before the imam and declare their free will to wed. The celebrations following are, however, very important for many couples and usually last several days.

Muslim couples also put rings on their fingers to signify their wedding. The only condition is that men are not allowed to wear gold in accordance with the Koran. Materials such as platinum or palladium, titanium, or therefore more likely to be used in wedding rings.


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