Jun 16, 2011

The Wedding Band in Ancient Cultures

Although popularized in the 20th century, the tradition of the wedding band dates back as far as ancient Egypt, where men sometimes gave their intended brides rings made out of hemp, bone, leather, or ivory. These served not only as visual symbols of a woman's marital status, but were symbolically linked to the spiritual beliefs of the ancient Egyptians.

The ring, as an endless loop, symbolized to the Egyptians the eternal, unending nature of love, and the way that life returned to itself in death. The wedding band was also a gateway, a door, to the heart and spirit, and bore resemblance to both the moon and the sun, which Egyptians worshiped.

The tradition of wearing a wedding band gradually spread, and ancient Romans often used iron rings, to symbolize love's strength. The practice of wearing the wedding band on the third finger of the left hand is said to have begun in ancient Rome, as the Romans believed that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart. Although this has been scientifically disproven, the tradition survives nonetheless.

In many ancient cultures, the wedding ring was not as much a symbol of love as one of trust or ownership, particularly in patriarchal societies. Wedding bands could indicate "ownership" of a woman, or a groom's willingness to entrust her with his valuable property. It was not until much later, in medieval Europe, that wedding bands and engagement rings were inset with gems or other precious stones/metals, when they served to show off a man's wealth and status in society.

Although some modern couples may see the wedding band as a commonplace part of wedding traditions, it has a long, rich history of rich with symbolic meaning and depth for many cultures worldwide.

Tom Moore is an blogger and internet marketing enthusiast currently working for a number of internet companies as a web consultant , marketing expert and investor. Tom has a passion for jewelry and is currently writing for Brillianteers - Diamond Engagement Rings

1 comment:

  1. Just like back then, the most important part of a ring is that it lasts just as long as your marriage. That's why tungsten wedding bands have become so popular.