Fun Fact: Africans invented the wedding ring

I know some of you cannot relate to this post coz you never really had a wedding. You have been fornicating and living in sin with your partner for almost a decade now. You moved in with Kevin the day he bought you two Guaranas and never left. Never mind, it’s not like I’m any better. I don’t own a wedding ring either.

Marriage is something we find in almost every culture around the world. Although the union between two people who love each other is central to each marriage, each culture has its own traditions. For example, there are wedding clothes, color themes, blessing rituals, and wedding food traditions. There are also smaller cultural differences. One of the best known of these is the wearing of a wedding ring. Although the wedding ring is seen as one of the most universal symbols in the world and carries the same symbolic significance almost everywhere, how the ring is made and worn varies throughout the world.

Invented in Egypt

Although Egypt is regarded as the birthplace of the modern wedding ring, the tradition was actually adopted as long ago as Neanderthal times. Neanderthals used to tie twigs, grass and rush around the bride’s wrists or ankles and regarded this not only as a sign of loyalty and friendship but also believed that by doing so the wife’s soul would remain intact and that she would live longer.

Several hundred years later, the Egyptians began making rings from bone, leather, ivory, and hemp. Sometime later, they discovered that metal could also be used to make rings, and as such, it was known as ring money. When a woman received this ring, she would at all times have a claim on her husband’s possessions.

Men only embraced the ring recently

It was also in the 20th century that we saw the emergence of the wedding ring for men. Previously, only wives had worn wedding rings but during World War II, wedding rings for men really caught on. The idea behind this was that men would carry their love with them in times when they weren’t sure they would ever see their wives again. Although nowadays this idea no longer applies to the same extent, the majority of western men still wear a wedding ring.

In today’s globalised world, you might be forgiven for thinking that we would adopt each other’s traditions more and more and that consequently, wedding rings would be worn the same way and symbolise the same things. However, the fact that borders are shifting doesn’t mean that culture is being forgotten.

178 thoughts on “Fun Fact: Africans invented the wedding ring

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