…third finger, technically it’s called the 4th finger.
By wearing rings on the fourth finger of their left hands, a married couple symbolically declares their eternal love for each other. This has now become a matter of tradition and etiquette.But why do we wear wedding rings on the third finger left hand?
Modern “authorities” on etiquette follow their predecessors in matrimonial procedure, in urging that the wedding ring always be worn on the third finger. Technically it’s called the 4th finger.
Before medical science discovered how the circulatory system functioned, people believed that a vein of blood ran directly from the third finger on the left hand to the heart. Because of the hand-heart connection, they chose the descriptive name vena amori, Latin for the vein of love, for this particular vein.
Based upon this name, their contemporaries, purported experts in the field of matrimonial etiquette, wrote that it would only be fitting that the wedding ring be worn on this finger.
It was considered a direct line to your heart… The ring finger tradition was started by the Romans, who believed that the fourth finger was connected directly to the heart by a vein which they called the love vein. For this reason, the fourth finger of the left hand has been adopted through the ages as the ideal place for the wedding ring (as it’s the closest place to the heart).
In some Western cultures (USA, UK), the wedding ring is worn on the left hand. In other countries such as Germany, India, Venezuela and Chile, however, it is worn on the right hand. In Spain it is also worn on the right, except by Catalan people.
Orthodox Christians, Eastern Europeans and Jews also traditionally wear the wedding band on the right hand. In The Netherlands, Catholic people wear it left, all others right. But in Austria, Catholic people wear it right. Greek people, many being Orthodox Christians, also wear the wedding rings on the right hand in keeping with Greek tradition.
A traditional reason to wear the wedding ring on the right hand stems from Roman custom. The Latin word for left is “sinistra”, a word that evolved into the English “sinister”. The Latin word for right is “dexter”, a word that evolved into “dexterity”. Hence, the left hand had a negative connotation and the right a good one.