Why Are Wedding Rings Worn on the Left Hand?

Wedding Ring On Woman's HandYou seldom see wedding rings worn on the right hand. It is always the left that grooms ask of the bride to place the symbolic accessory on, no matter what the strong hand is. 

The ring's type, value, or origin are also non-factors in the placement. Whether the weddings rings are from Utah or elsewhere, simple or grand, it is always set on the left hand. 

Have you ever wondered where this tradition started? It turns out both sides of the world have different takes.

Eastern culture representations

The tradition traces its roots to Eastern culture. Chinese belief states that the five fingers on each hand represent different familial relationships: The thumb stands for parents, the index finger for siblings, the middle finger for yourself, the ring finger for your romantic partner, and the pinky for the kids.

A gesture further explains these associations. Imagine holding a ball in the middle of your palms, with your fingertips touching each other. Try to separate the thumbs (parents) first. It will be easy, since you won't be living with them for the rest of your life. The same goes for the index fingers (siblings), the pinkies (children), and the middle fingers (yourself, with the idea of being engaged in a selfless, romantic relationship). The hardest, and heaviest, to break will be the ring fingers, which represent your romantic partner.

A more medical Western take

Western traditions, specifically Ancient Greek and Roman, also have its iteration. According to them, the vein that runs through the left ring finger connects directly to the heart. It is also called the "vena amoris" or the vein of love.

The next time you see someone wearing a wedding ring, remember that its placement on the left hand has explanations from both sides of the globe.