It appears that the wedding ring worn on the right hand is originally a European custom. The custom at the chupah is to put the ring of the kallah's right pointing finger not the "ring finger". The "ring finger" on the right and left hand is a custom picked up from the nonJewish inhabitants of a local area.
How the Ring Is Given
Despite the fact that rings today are typically worn on the finger
next to the pinky, the bride receives the ring from the groom on her
right index finger. Many reasons are given for this long-standing
tradition. The most straightforward reason is given by Rabbi Samuel
Segal of Mezeritch, Poland, in the seventeenth century in his book
Nachalat Shivah. He writes that since the index finger is the finger
most commonly used to point to things, and therefore the finger most
in the forefront and visible, this is the one we use for the giving of
the ring before witnesses.
Why is the wedding ring placed on the right index finger?
The right index finger is the one that we point with, and the right
side is considered one of love in Jewish mysticism.
The index finger of the right hand is utilized because the right hand
is seen as having precedence in Judaism since a majority of people use
their right hand dominantly. The right is also appropriate because in
the Kabbalah, the right “side” of the divine is a reference to the
characteristic of love. Additionally, many people suggest that in
ancient times, rings, as is still the case in some eastern cultures,
were worn on the index finger, and that this tradition may have just
remained with us since that time.
Depending on the local culture, it is worn on the base of the right or the left ring finger. The custom of wearing such a ring has spread widely beyond its origin in Europe.1
Wedding Ring on the Right Hand
According to Reader's Digest, the custom of wearing a wedding ring on
the left ring finger is a fairly recent invention, even in
English-speaking countries. In fact, before the 1700s, people
frequently wore their wedding rings on their right ring fingers. An
1869 article entitled The Wedding Ring postulates that this right-hand
wearing may have been changed to the left, or generally non-dominant,
hand as a way for women to show deference to men, who did not wear
wedding rings at that time.
Reader's Digest also asserts that the Romans wore wedding rings on
their right hands. This may have been due to a cultural belief that
the left hand was sinister or untrustworthy. Even today, when people
make an important vow or take an oath, they place their left hand on a
Bible and raise their right hand. This emphasis on the right hand as a
symbol of honor may be related to the historical mistrust of the left
According to Wedding Details, people in many central and northern
European couples wear wedding rings on their right ring fingers. This
is customary for couples from the following countries:
Some parts of Belgium
German couples traditionally use a simple gold band as an engagement
ring and place that band on the left finger before the wedding. After
the wedding, they move the ring to the right ring finger, where they
wear it as a symbol of their union. Russia and Surrounding Countries
Master Russia reports that Russians also wear their wedding rings on
the right ring finger. According to Latvian jeweler Sudraba Nams,
brides and grooms in many Eastern European countries also follow this
tradition. These include Latvia, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. Greece
According to Greek Wedding Traditions, Greek brides and grooms have
worn right-hand wedding rings for many years. Those who are Orthodox
Christians continue this custom. However, modern Greek couples living
in Western cultures often wear their rings on the left hand.