| Wednesday, July 20, 2005
| WHY IS A WEDDING RING WORN ON THE THIRD FINGER OF THE LEFT HAND?
|As far as we know, the ancient Egyptians were the first to place a ring on the third finger of the left hand to signify the marriage union. It was placed on that finger because the Egyptians believed that the "vein of love" ran from this finger to the heart. They used a ring because they believed that the circle was the symbol for eternity. It represented perfection because it has no beginning and no end.
Rings found in ancient Egyptian tombs were made of pure gold. The name or title of the owner was engraved on the ring in hieroglyps. The poorer citizens of Egypt wore rings of silver , bronze, amber,ivory, or simply glazed pottery.
Because gold was precious to the early Romans, a gold ring symbolized everlasting love and commitment.
King Edward VI of England decreed that the third finger on the left hand was to be the ring finger. In the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, the left hand was designated as the marriage hand.
From the earliest times in our history, people have always given advice to newly married couples such as "comfort each other", "respect one another", and "listen to each other".
The old wedding phrase "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" has a definite history. Something "old" referred to a personal gift from the bride's mother to provide a bond to the bride's old life and family. Something "new" signified hope for the future and was symbolic of the new family to be formed by the married couple. Something "borrowed" was to be a gift from a happily married woman. The gift was supposed to carry some of the married woman's happiness into the new marriage. Something "blue" had two different meanings. Ancient Roman maidens wore blue because it denoted modesty and fidelity, while for Christians the blue is associated with the purity of the Virgin Mary.
The origin of the wedding shower is based on the legend of a Dutch maiden who fell in love with a poor miller. Her family could not afford a dowry so their friends "showered" them with gifts so that they could be married without a dowry.
Hindus tie old shoes on vehicles leaving the wedding ceremony as a sign of good luck.
Because an Anglo-Saxon bride was often kidnapped before a wedding, she stood to the left of the groom so this sword hand would be free. The best warrior in the tribe stood next to the groom to help him defend his bride. That is why in today's weddings, the best man stands to the right of the groom.
Many cultures believe that loud noises scare away evil spirit. Today the tradition continues with our custom of the bridal party honking their horns when leaving the wedding.
In medieval times, Europeans believed that newly married couples were very vulnerable to evil spirits. If the groom carried the bride, she was protected from the floor and the evil spirits in the ground. That is the origin of the cutom of carrying the bride over the threshold.
DID YOU KNOW?
Our wedding customs and traditions come from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Although most of us are familiar with our own wedding customs, there are many fascinating customs in other times and countries.
Because African-American slaves were not permitted to marry, they publicly declared their love by jumping over a broom to symbolize jumping through a doorway from single life to the life of domestic life. Couples had their hands bound together at the wrists a=so that they were symbolically linked. Although some people belive this is the origin of the phrase "tying the knot", may other cultures have a similar ceremony. For example, in a Hindu marriage ceremony, the bridegroom hangs a ribbon on the bride's neck and then ties it in a knot. The ancient Carthaginians bound the thumbs of the betrothed with leather thongs.
In small Italian villages, the newlyweds walk to the town plaza, where there is a sawhorse, a log, and a double-handle saw. With the crowd cheering them on, they must saw the log apart. This symbolizes that in all of life's trials and tribulations, the couple must always work together.
In the simple Moravian wedding ceremony, the bride and the groom together light one large candle. Every guest has a hand made beeswax candle. One gust lights his candle from the large candle and then uses his candle to light the candle of the guest next to him. This continues until everyone in the church has a lit candle, symbolic of the warmth of love from family and friends.
No matter what the country, a wedding is filled with love.
Abstracted from the collections of Customs from the book: WHAT MAKES FLAMINGOS PINK
By: Bill McClain)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 1:09 PM