Have you ever wondered why people started wearing wedding rings? It definitely wasn’t done in this part of the world until the colonial times and the introduction of Christianity. People of different tribes have always had some markers to differentiate married people from single people, like different styles of clothing and hairstyles. The origin of wearing wedding rings is just the same.
Here’s how wearing wedding rings started:
The earliest records of exchanging rings were from ancient Egypt. Some married couples would give each other simple rings braided from hemp or reed plants. The circle symbolises infinity and unending love, and they wore the ring on the left ring finger because it was believed to have a vein that leads directly to the heart. Cute, right?
Ancient Rome and Greece
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The ancient Romans and Greeks were the first to start making wedding rings from metal so they could last longer. The rings made their way into the customs of the church and became a part of the wedding ceremony. The husband would give the wife a ring to signify that her allegiance was to his family. In other words, it was a mark that she was “taken”.
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Different ring styles started to evolve with the times, and soon precious stones like rubies and diamonds and emeralds became a fixture for rings for women. The ring became a sign of a monetary contract fulfilled, since the bride’s father was usually expected to give some money or land to his daughter’s husband. In some customs, the ring was given to the bride and money exchanged at the altar to seal the deal. These rings were usually engraved or plated in the form of plants and flowers. Some of them were even interlocking puzzles so that the bride wouldn’t be able to take it off!
These days, rings are usually given by the man to the woman he intends to marry. A second, plainer ring is given to the bride at the wedding ceremony. Women usually wear the rings together; the engagement ring on top of the wedding ring. Men get a ring during the wedding ceremony. In fact, rings have become a social marker, because someone who isn’t wearing a ring is automatically assumed to be single.
So, wedding rings started as a declaration of mutual love, then became a sign of ownership and monetary contract, and now they have become a status symbol. Who knows what it will become in a few generations to come?
If you’re so over the wedding rings trend, there are some really creative options you can explore instead.
Featured image: @nobleigwe via Instagram.