Engagement Rings Around the World

Universally engagement rings symbolize love and commitment, but how they are presented, as well as if they are presented vary universally. Most countries nowadays are westernized when it comes to engagement rings, which means they typically buy a diamond ring, get down on one knee and propose. Some cultures still hold true to their traditions, no matter how different they are. Here are some of the different rituals some cultures still partake in to show their eternal commitment.

Where people wear their engagement rings varies from country to country.

  • The tradition of placing the engagement ring on the 4th finger of the left hand still holds true in Western countries. The tradition dates back to ancient rome, from the romantic myth that there is a vein in the ring finger leading directly to the heart.
  • In most Northern and Eastern European countries the engagement and wedding rings are worn on the right hand. One of the reasons may be that in roman tradition ‘left’ in Latin means ‘sinister’ and ‘right’ means ‘dexterity,’ so it only seems appropriate they would choose the more optimistic meaning.
  • There are even places out there such as in South America where both man and woman wear an engagement ring. That way the couple can both show they are officially taken! Maybe we need to adopt this habit.

In some cultures the idea of an engagement ring is passed in the form of jewelry other than a ring.

  • In Hindu culture, women are given toe rings, called bichiya, as engagement rings.
  • In West Bengal, India woman are given iron bangle bracelets as signs of commitment and love.
  • A non-traditional engagement ring that could be considered jewelry is a custom called ‘spooning’ which occurs in Wales. This is where a suitor carves a piece of wood and presents it to the woman he loves. If she wears it around her neck with a ribbon than she has accepted his proposal and they are officially engaged.

Then there are some cultures who pledge their eternal commitment by means of something entirely different than jewelry.

  • In the western regions of India when a man wants to propose to the one he loves, he gives her a young goose, also known as a gosling.
  • In Cajun culture it is customary to propose by putting a small chunk of ice on a woman’s foot, and not the kind of ice we women in the U.S. are used too, this ice definitely won’t last as long.
  • Russia has no need for engagement rings. In fact if they want to get married they do so within a month or two.

No matter the tradition love is universal, it doesn’t matter how you show it just as long as you do. 



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