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Why are wedding rings worn on the left hand?

来源:中国日报    2018-03-06 09:00

        For years, couples have dedicated a single "ring" finger to romance when any other digit would do. A case of left side, strong side? Not according to history.        多年来,夫妇们都是把象征爱情的戒指戴在左手的无名指上,虽然,其他任何手指也可以履行这一职责。难道左手是更好的那只手吗?历史上可不是这样说的。
        In medieval times, getting caught scribbling with one's left hand could earn accusations of being possessed and, during the Spanish Inquisition, lefties were more likely to be tortured or killed. In fact, the aversion touched many cultures, from the long-standing taboo in Islamic countries against eating and drinking with one’s left hand, to the expectation in ancient Japan that any wife who didn’t favor her right could be legally divorced on the spot, no questions asked. So why do we favor a finger on a cursed hand to symbolize lasting love?        在中世纪,被发现用左手写字会被指控受到魔鬼操控,在西班牙宗教法庭上,很可能会被判处酷刑或死刑。事实上,古人对左手的厌恶跨越多国文化,从伊斯兰国家长久以来对于用左手吃喝的禁忌,到日本古代不爱用右手的妻子可能会当场被休,合理合法,连质询都不需要。那么,为什么我们会选择用被诅咒的那只手的手指来象征永恒的爱情呢?
        Past perception wasn't all bad. The union between marriage and the now-standard ring placement can be traced back to second-century Egyptians who falsely believed that “a certain most delicate nerve” began in the fourth left finger and stretched directly to the heart, according to the Greek scholar Appian. Centuries later, the Romans came to a similar conclusion. In place of a nerve, they were convinced that a vena amoris—or “lover’s vein”—connected this digit with the blood-pumping organ.        古人也不全都认为左手不好。婚姻和左手无名指的关联可以追溯到2世纪的埃及。希腊学者阿皮安解释说,当时埃及人误以为“某个最脆弱的神经”从左手第四指开始,一直延伸到心脏。几世纪后,罗马人也得出了相似的结论。只不过,罗马人认为左手无名指和心脏相连的不是神经,而是“爱情之脉”。
        During the Roman engagement process, a well-off suitor who could afford a ring would slip it over his bride-to-be’s fourth finger. Thus, he’d always have a symbolic grip around her lover’s vein. The modern world may have adopted that practice from the Romans.        在罗马人订婚的过程中,能买得起戒指的富有的求婚者会将戒指亲自戴到准新娘的无名指上,象征着他抓住了她的“爱情之脉”。现代人可能是从罗马人那里习得这种做法的。
        Still, others argue that reverence for the fourth finger began as an early Christian ritual. While crossing themselves in an Orthodox Church, worshipers are expected to join the thumb with the index and middle fingers. Historians contend that the group represented the father, son, and Holy Ghost when placed together, while the “ring” finger signified earthly love, making it the perfect location for a spouse’s wedding ring.        但仍有其他人争论说,对无名指的敬意源自基督教早期的一种仪式。在东正教教堂里画十字时,信徒们须将拇指和食指、中指相连。历史学家指出,这三个手指相连代表着父、子和圣灵相连,而无名指象征着俗世的爱,于是便成了已婚者戴结婚戒指的完美位置。
        Until the seventeenth century, Orthodox couples normally wore their rings on the right hand (an extremity that’s associated with strength) and most Europeans of all faiths followed suit. But during the Reformation in 1549, an English Bishop and Protestant reformer named Thomas Cranmer used wedding rings as a way to break from tradition. That year, he published The Book of Common Prayer, which instructs couples to ditch a centuries-old practice in favor of slipping their wedding rings over the left fourth finger. Before long, husbands and wives throughout the continent were doing so.        一直到17世纪,东正教夫妇们通常都将戒指戴在右手上(和力量有关的一种极端做法),多数欧洲人(无论是什么信仰)都效仿了这种做法。但是在1549年宗教改革时期,英国主教、新教改革者托马斯•克兰麦利用结婚戒指与传统决裂。那一年,他出版了《公祷书》,书中教导夫妇们抛弃延续数世纪之久的做法,鼓励他们把结婚戒指戴在左手无名指上。没过多久,整个欧洲大陆的夫妇都开始这么做了。

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