“Give her a ring, propose your beloved!” one would advise a man in love. The ring is often regarded to symbolize the beginning of the relationship. And not just for women but it implies for men as well to wear these beautiful bands of love. Bending on the knees, kissing the hand and saying ‘I love you’ would definitely be incomplete without a ring. To wear a ring on your ring finger is a tradition that we are following forever. One often wonders as to why do we wear rings? How did it first originate? Who were the first people to have exchanged the rings and what is so great about this tradition that it is being followed since the last 6,000 years approximately? Let’s find the answer to all these questions.
HISTORY OF THE RING
Nobody can exactly trace the origin of rings in the history. Some believe that it was the Egyptians, who can be credited for beginning this tradition. The tradition evolved from the seal or signet. The seal was power back then, so the wearer of the signet ring was regarded as a person of a great authority. Later, these rings were given as a symbol of love. The rings which the Egyptians wore weren’t made of metal back then, they were made with plants. The reeds going alongside the ‘platypus’ were woven and braided together and made into rings. The same method was followed for other decorative ornaments. But during those days only women were given these rings as the symbol of love and fidelity. However, these rings did not last long because they were made out of reeds. Eventually, rings made of leather; bone and ivory were used in place of the original ones, so that they would last longer and eventually more durable. After the Egyptians, it was the Romans who adopted this tradition but they had their own way of practicing it. While the Egyptians gave the rings as a symbol of love, the Romans gave the rings as a symbol of ownership. The Egyptians intended this gesture to be romantic but the Romans didn’t sustain the romance in it. These rings were made of iron and by giving this ring to a woman; the men would ‘claim’ them. After this, the tradition of rings, stepped in Asia, where the sultans and sheikhs made their wives were tags of their names (considering the time then, where women were merely a property of the man). This was restricted to a certain part of Asia, which was under the influence of the sultans and sheikhs. The exchanging of rings was an act done more of out of love than tradition. Not only women but even men loved wearing rings on their fingers (left or right hand depending on the culture of the country). Most people chose to sustain this piece of tradition while gifting rings during marriage, engagement or a simple commitment. The other traditions for marriage and engagements were changing depending upon the choice of the couple. The vast history of the ring, is one reason to wear it, it would make you feel like you are part of that legendary time which is past behind.
THE LEFT OR THE RIGHT HAND?
Rings are worn on either the left or the right hand, depending upon what country you are in. For example, in Portugal, the rings are initially worn on the right hand (often known as commitment rings) and then after marriage the rings are worn on the left hand. In Australia or US, the rings are worn on the left hand. Whatever hand it maybe what remains constant is the fourth finger (better known as the ring finger). Legend says that the fourth finger is the only finger in the hand which has a vein directly leading to the heart, known as ‘Vena Amoris’. It signified that your beloved is touching your heart with his or her love, while making you wear the ring on the fourth finger of your left or right hand. Another practical theory to wearing rings in the fourth finger is that it is the least used finger out of all the fingers in the hand. Some people choose to wear the ring in the hand, which is more comfortable for them; the others choose to follow the culture. THE MEANING OF THE RING Rings have a meaning other than the meaning of commitment and long lasting love and fidelity. The circle in the ring has a definite purpose. The rings are always a circle in form on the inside, rarely of any other shape. The reason behind it being that a circle is never ending i.e. it is eternal. So, the relationship also lasts forever. During ancient times, drawing a circle meant having no ends for something and something that is going to stay beyond time and life. That is precisely why the rings are circular.
SO, WHY SHOULD YOU WEAR A RING?TRADITION:
Imagine that you are sitting and watching a very old family album where your grandparents or parents have got married. The exchanging of rings in one of the photos would bring a smile on your face. For the romantic, they would imagine the same scene with their beloved. For many of us, following the tradition is kind of showing your respect to it. The present comes from the past, so we value it and credit our existence to it. That is why many people chose to wear a ring to honour the tradition that has been going on since thousands of years. You can also choose to do so. Hail tradition!
Often we fall short of words to express what we feel for someone. Even the best of the writers and poets often cannot find the right words for their feelings. That is when the symbols come to rescue. We do something symbolic to express our love. Rings are such symbols, which speak for themselves. These rings are symbols of many things – The symbol of love between you and your loved one; the symbol that you are gifting your time, commitment and promises to him or her; the symbol of fidelity and genuineness; the symbol of your love lasting till eternity; the symbol of happiness and the symbol of your bonding; the symbol of belonging to each other and a lot more. Most importantly, all this is simply implied, that is why if you make someone wear a ring and say nothing, they understand that you are proposing them. No words are required at all. With a ring, everything can be done so simply, so beautifully!
When you wear a ring in public, it shows how proud you are of your relationship. You are not wearing the ring to show it to the people or trying to prove anything to anyone but it speaks for itself. You are letting the world know how proud you are to be with your beloved, how special he/she makes you feel and how glad you are that you found them and entered into a relationship so precious! Some people love to show off their spouse to their friends and to the family. It is known that they intentionally keep their hands in such a way that their ring is seen and in attracts attention so that people come forth with their questions and their congratulations and wishes.
People have often said that the ring has offered them comfort and solace when they were away from the one they love or when they were in the middle of turmoil and needed a corner to turn to. Although it is just made of a metal, it becomes special because it is something that is given to you by your life-partner. That piece of metal becomes magical for you and it reminds you of the bond you share, of your commitment, of everything that you have ever done together when you are away or alone. Some people have also found support in the ring to resist any untoward temptation that comes their way during their lifetime. It is not going to work as some physical shield or protect you against a divorce but it will definitely work as a mental one to help you give your decision one more thought. What more? It reminds you of all the promises you made and to stand up to them.
‘I AM NOT AVAILABLE’:
Strangers often notice the ring on your hand and know that you are committed to someone and are not available. It makes a statement for you. Those who believe in wearing rings and are in a relationship would definitely wear it under any circumstances because they love the fact that they are not single. Often it is seen that when the time of breaking apart or divorce comes in, men and women both are known to remove or return these rings because the importance of the ring ceases with the ceasing of the relationship. VALUE: For the practical part, the rings are of great help during a financial crisis. Apart from the value it has morally, it has financial value as well. During the time of crisis, these rings can protect and sail you out of it. It is fact that nobody would want to sell or mortgage such special rings but when you are in a foxhole, they can be the saviour and you can always get them back when the dark goes and the dawn returns.
Most of us today, in the 21st century do things only because we want them. The ‘want’ is the only reason. So wear the ring simply because you want to, it is your choice. Regardless of what the tradition says, or what the symbolism is or what it means, just wear it because you want to wear it, by choice. Let the world say what it wants, you do what you want.
More women and fewer men, have the love for jewellery. Sometimes, the man doesn’t wear a ring for long, he wears only on the day of marriage or for a few days more but a woman wears multiple rings just because she loves the bling and the jewellery. And most women do, don’t they? Venusians love it when the Martians gift them a piece of jewellery at any given point of time. So if you want to make her happy, don’t forget the ring. For most women, the ring is a must, they feel amazing with a beautiful rock or a simple band, depending upon their choice placed on their finger. RE-THINKING PRIORITIES: Our life changes at every stage and the dwindling of priorities, the diverting of the mind keeps happening. The ring can help you re-think what your priorities are. While you are on the verge of making a decision, the ring can serve as a reminder of your priorities to help you do justice to them.
With a variety of rings available in the market, the newest being the tungsten rings, they can be the statement of style and express who you are. Get them made of gold, platinum, tungsten or place a rock like ruby, diamond, emerald or sapphire to identify with yours and your beloved’s personality and make your own style statement.
ROMANCE AND MAGIC:
We do not find much of magic and romance in our daily life. Reality hits everyone hard, while everyone wants to experience a little bit of fantasy to keep them going. The rings can give a continuous feel of romance and magic. It also reminds you to bring the romance and spark back in your relationship if you’re facing the blues. It is not a magic wand but it can help you bring the romance back or to keep the romance going endlessly. Most of us have grown up listening to or reading to fairy-tales and storybook about the ‘once upon a time’ kingdoms and their prince and princesses, where they have also exchanged rings and ignited the romance. If not for fantasy, but for fun, rings can definitely make you elated. To conclude, the reasons to wear a ring are plenty and quite meaningful but it is not necessary that only if you wear a ring, you can do all of it. You can do it otherwise as well. It is not a necessity; it is merely a special part that is sure to elevate your relationship or rather a blossom of a relationship. However, we can afford this with a bit of luxury for each of us to make us smile and blush, can’t we?