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Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind the engagement ring finger? Traditionally, we wear our engagement rings on the third finger of our left hand (the finger right next to the pinky). But why is that? In this post we’ll cover everything you need to know about the engagement ring finger, including its history, its meaning, how people wear their rings today, and whether or not you have to wear your engagement ring on your engagement ring finger.
The History of the Engagement Ring Finger
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There’s a lovely, sentimental reason behind the tradition of wearing engagement rings on the left ring finger. The practice of wearing an engagement ring on this specific finger dates all the way back to ancient Rome. Back in ancient times, people thought that there was a vein in this finger that led directly to the heart (though, modern science has proved this isn’t true). As the heart has long been associated with love, people began wearing their wedding rings on this finger because it was thought to be connected to the heart.
The Engagement Ring Finger Today
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Today, most people in western countries such as the United States wear their engagement ring on the ring finger of their left hand. Though we now know this finger doesn’t have a special vein that leads directly to the heart, wearing an engagement ring on this finger is considered traditional.
However, in other parts of the world, the tradition is to wear a wedding band or engagement ring on the right hand. For example, it’s traditional to wear an engagement ring or wedding band on your right hand in Russia, Greece, and Spain.
Other countries have different traditional placements for engagement rings and wedding bands. Or different traditional placements during different times of courtship. For example, in Brazil it’s traditional for both the bride and groom to wear engagement rings on their right hand, then switch their rings to their left hand after marriage. While wearing engagement rings and wedding bands on the left ring finger is a dominant tradition in many western countries, different countries throughout the world have their own unique cultural traditions.
Do You Have to Wear Your Engagement Ring on Your Engagement Ring Finger?
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In western culture, it’s traditional to wear your engagement ring on your engagement ring finger. But if that tradition doesn’t feel right for you, know that you can wear your engagement ring any way you like.
Not everyone follows the “ring finger” tradition. And there are many reasons people choose to wear their ring in a different way. For example, people often find that wearing their engagement ring on their dominant hand is uncomfortable. So, many people who are left-handed often choose to wear their engagement ring on their right hand. Additionally, many people just prefer the look of wearing their engagement ring on another finger.
There’s really no wrong way to wear your engagement ring. In the past, it was culturally frowned upon to wear your engagement ring on a non-traditional finger. But, today, it’s becoming more and more common (and more and more culturally acceptable) to buck tradition and wear your engagement ring however you like. So, if you like the idea of wearing your engagement ring on the traditional engagement ring finger, by all means do! But if you want to wear your engagement ring on a finger that’s not your traditional ring finger, go for it!
An engagement ring is an expression of you and your love for your partner. And you can express that love in any way— or on any finger— you like!