Mar 9, 2010

I've Got Questions, You've Got Answers!


From my questioning brain to your eager eyeballs, I have a question. Are you ready?

On which hand/finger do you wear your wedding band and/or engagement ring? 

I think it's interesting that the logic behind the left-hand-ring-wearing tradition is partly due to the fact that most people are right handed and thus the ring might become busted up if worn on the dominant hand. I do, however, appreciate the idea (shared also by the Eastern Orthodox Church) of using the right hand. Why? The right hand resembles oaths, at least traditionally. Think about when you go to court or swear an oath, you're always asked to "raise your right hand." This also was a Roman and biblical tradition, that is to use the right hand. If you want to get more sticky, you can also reference the fact that the left hand is viewed as evil or sinister. Interestingly, there was a long-standing belief that people who were left-handed were somehow defective or damned. In many cultures, children were trained (I even know someone who had to deal with this in the not-so-distant past) to write with their right hand, just in case. It's just a hand people!

Anyhow, feel free to answer. I know the traditional way is to wear the wedding band on your right finger, and only much later did Jews start wearing the band on their left finger in the Protestant fashion. I'm also curious how other folks roll -- Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, etc. Different people have different traditions, so fill me in!

22 comments:

Mottel said...

By the chupa we put it on the right index finger - the reason escapes me at the moment - if someone doesn't bring it, I'll look it up. As far as I know people actually wear it on the ring finger due to local practice - nothing specific behind it.
In Halacha, though the right is viewed as chesed, the left gevurah etc. When it come to which hand is used for things, there's nothing wrong with the left . . .

Chaviva said...

I read, however, that you must wear it on whichever hand/finger it is placed under the chuppah.

Mottel said...

Must? We put it on the index finger - no one I know keeps it there though. After dinner I look around for some more info

TMC said...

no particular preference from the Tibetan point of view -- they never used wedding rings.

my ring is a $70 white gold band, worn on my left hand. it's the only ring I wear. my Husband is allergic to metals with the exception of 24 c. gold (convenient, right?) so we used his father's gold ring as his wedding ring. it's also worn on his left hand ring finger.

I would simply suggest that you wear yours on whatever hand or finger has the most symbolism to YOU.

TMC said...

oh yeah, i should point out that the $70 ring was what i wanted. Husband wanted to get me diamonds but i knew i would trash anything with rocks on it. he still teases me about my "cheap little ring."

It never leaves my hand. :)

Melissa_O said...

We had two weddings...one civil, and one after I converted. My plain, thin gold band from the first wedding I am planning on getting sized and wearing it on my right index finger. My ring from my Jewish wedding (and what I consider my "real" wedding) is on my left hand, ring finger. It is a yellow gold ring, with Hebrew stamped into it. From what I understand, it is ok to have engraving, as long as it doesn't totally penetrate the ring.

Jewish Wedding Music said...

Perhaps one should worry less about the which hand gets the wedding band and more about which band gets to play the wedding :)

elisabeth said...

What we did at the chuppah: my husband put it on my right index for the ha-ray-aht (sorry for bad transliteration), and then immediately moved it to the ring finger of my left hand.

We're spending a few years in Europe right now, and here everyone wears their wedding rings on the right hand ring finger. But I like it american-traditional style, as I get warm fuzzies when I remember looking at the wedding bands on my hands of my mother and grandmother (on their left hand, same as me).

shavuatov said...

I would say follow what feels good to you. Most people that are British wear their wedding rings on their left hand ring finger, but then as we are such a wonderfully mixed society, we see a lot of Europeans wear their's on the right hand.

I know someone who plays a lot of golf and wears his wedding ring on his right hand, as it interferes with his grip if he wears it on his left hand!

Christopher Darrin Horn said...

Ugggh! I don't wear one. I can't stand wearing jewelry of any kind. Nothing against it, but metal on my skin just always irritated me, necklaces, rings, LOL. Maybe has something to do with my allergy to needles, LOL.

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

ancient hebrew men wore their marriage ring on the first finger left hand...the engagement ring was the little finger on the left, for some reason I thought that was the 'concubine' ring, but if you have that many wives...where do you wear all the rings??

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

yes, mottel, that's right, but the left finger is also a soul finger, it means; bring me to light, for my hand hath defied God ?? automatic thinking --here--??---

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

oh ur right, i think maybe i meant the right forefinger ?? i'm looking looking!!

Leslie said...

I was under the impression folks used the left ring finger because there's an artery (vein, something, I'm not a doctor) that goes from that finger directly to the heart.

Melissa_O said...

From the great(?) wikipedia....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_finger

Vicki said...

I wear mine on my left ring finger just because it's most easily the finger in America (and maybe Western Europe) that people immediately recognize you are married/engaged. In my Russian friend circles, I switch it to my right ring finger because, as you mentioned, in Russia and Eastern Europe it's worn on the right hand. I don't do this normally because it tends to confuse people and explaining it gets old. :)

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

When we first got married, I wore mine on the RIGHT hand, ring finger. But then a coworker told me that was where you put it if you were widowed, God forbid.
So I switched it to the more conventional (in Western society) left hand ring finger, where it stayed until I took it off to wash and it got lost two summers ago.
I miss it. There's still an indentation, after only about 3 years of wearing it constantly.
Fascinating topic!

Dunking Rachel said...

When engaged I kept the enggement ring on the right ring finger, but must admit the many older ladies kept telling me I should move it over!

Durring the actual wedding, my wedding ring, as in traddition, a simple band, ...(the most beautiful ring in the world!...lol no offence to all the other wonderful simple bands....smile)
was put on my right hand...

but I then switched and added the engagment ring with it on my left ring finger.

My husband also dosn't love rings, but it is the only thing I asked was he wear his ring. When we went to Israel for our Honeymoon we bought him a lovely gold band....he wears it every day...so now he has 2 wedding rings....but only one wife!
we joke I am such a good wife he has two rings to prove it!

Chaviva said...

WOW! Such variety. It looks like the outcome of this query is that I need to do what I need to do for me. I don't want to confuse anyone, of course.

My thought originally was to wear my engagement ring on my left hand and then the band on my right. But would that be weird? Not to have them both on the same hand? Hrm.

Maybe both on the right? I like confusing people.

Mrs. S. said...

Under the chupah, the chatan puts the ring on the kallah's right forefinger. (If you looks closely during an Orthodox ceremony, you can see the kallah crooking her finger to keep the ring, which is usually sized for a different finger, from falling off...)

After the chupah, she may do whatever she wants. (Most kallot move it in the yichud room.)

I wear my engagement ring and my wedding band together on my left ring finger.

e-kvetcher said...

Ha, reminds me of the old Russian joke:

If you meet a woman in a bar and she has a ring on her ring-finger it means she is married. If she has a ring on her middle finger, it doesn't mean anything...

And if she has a ring on her ring-finger and one on her middle finger it means she is married, but it doesn't mean anything :)

Eli said...

Oh sweet heaven. Now I have to start obsessing about this... :)

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