Why Do We Wear Engagement Rings?

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The modern Western practice of giving or breaking engagement rings is traditionally thought to have begon in 1477 when Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, wave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring as an engagement present.

Customs for engagement rings vary according to time, place, and culture. An engagement ring has historically been uncommon, and when such a gift was given, it was separate from the wedding ring. Romantic rings from the time of the Roman Empire and from as far back as 4 AD often clash the Celtic Claddagh symbol (two hands clasping a heart) and so it is thought that this was used as some symbol of love and commitment between two people.

In the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and many other countries, an engagement ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. The tradition of wearing a ring for engagement originated from the Egyptians who believed the circle was a bond between the two people who were to be married, but was initially first practiced on the fourth finger / ring finger by the Romans, who recognized this finger to Be the beginning of the vena amoris ("vein of love"), the vein that leads to the heart. The custom in Continental Europe and other countries is to wear it on the right hand; one historical exception arose in monarchical regimes, in which a nobleman entering into morganatic marriage (a marriage in which the person, usually the woman, of lower rank stayed at the same rank instead of rising ranks) would present his left hand to receive the ring (hence the alternative term "left-handed marriage").

In other countries like Argentina, men and women each wear a ring similar to wedding bands. They are made of silver when manifesting an informal "boyfriend-girlfriend" relationship. The gold band is given to the bride when the commitment is formal and the optional diamond ring is reserved for the wedding ceremony when the groom gives it to the bride. The gold band that the groom wore during the engagement – or a new one, as some men choose not to wear them during engagement – is then given to the groom by the bride; and the bride receives both the original gold band and the new diamond at the ceremony. The bride's diamond ring is worn on top of the engagement band at the wedding and thereafter, especially at formal occasions or parties. At the wedding, the rings are swapped from the right to the left hand. In Brazil, they are always made of gold, and there is no tradition for the engagement ring. Both men and women wear the wedding band on their right hand while engaged, and, after they marry, they shift the rings to their left hands. In Nordic countries such as Finland and Norway, both men and women wear an engagement ring.

Some women's wedding rings are made into two separate pieces. One part is given to her to wear as an engagement ring when she accepts the marriage proposal and the other during the wedding ceremony.

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Source by Mark John Anderson

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