Why Is the Wedding Ring Worn on the Ring Finger? The Chinese Offer This Cool Explanation…

For thousands of years, wedding rings have been worn on the ring finger of the left hand, but do you know the origin of this worldwide tradition?

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Some give credit to the ancient Romans and Greeks, who believed that the vein in the fourth finger of the left hand (the vena amoris or vein of love) ran directly to the heart. Although the “vein of love” story is compelling and widely cited, a contemporary understanding of the circulatory systems has soundly debunked the science behind the legend.

We love the Chinese ring-finger hypothesis because it comes with a sweet explanation and even cooler demonstration.

The Chinese believe that each finger is a representation of the past, present and future generations of you and your family members. The thumb represents your parents, the index finger represents your siblings, the middle finger represents you, the ring finger represents your partner and the pinky represents your children.

Now give this a try…

1. Place your palms together as if you were praying.

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2. Then, with all the fingertips still touching, bend the middle fingers toward each other until their tips are pointing downward into your palm and the second knuckle of each middle finger is touching the other. Remember, the middle fingers represent you.

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3. Now, attempt to separate the pinkies. You certainly can, because the pinkies represent your children, who will eventually leave your home and build families of their own.

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4. The thumbs that represent your parents can separate easily, as well, because your parents are not destined to live with you forever.

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5. Your index fingers separate with no resistance, as these represent your siblings, who will go on to live life on their own.

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6. Now, attempt to separate the ring fingers, which represent you and your partner. They don’t budge. No matter how much you try, they won’t come apart.

The Chinese explanation, of course, is that the union between you and your partner is unbreakable, and a wedding ring worn on the ring finger represents a marriage that is meant to last forever.

Anatomically, here’s how phenomenon works… There is a common muscle called Extensor Digitorum that has little connectors between the tendons that go to the backs of each finger that allow them to extend all the way. The thumb is separate, but in addition to this muscle, the pinky has a second muscle called Extensor Digiti Minimi and the pointer has a second muscle called Extensor Indicis. When you bend the middle fingers, you fix the tendons of the Extensor Digitorum and without a second muscle to assist, the ring finger is stuck.

A practical explanation of why the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand focuses on the practicality of keeping the ring out of harm’s way. Since most people of right-handed, wearing the ring of the left hand would make it less susceptible to damage. Also, the ring finger doesn’t get as much work as, say, the thumb and index finger, so the little-used ring finger is a good place to display the bridal jewelry.

Credits: Bridal image by Bigstockphoto.com; Hand images by The Jeweler Blog.

Hidden for 70 Years: Gold Jewelry Found Under the False Bottom of a Mug at The Auschwitz Museum

Staffers of The Auschwitz Museum in southern Poland made a stunning discovery last week when an enameled mug’s carefully constructed false bottom shook loose, revealing a small stash of gold jewelry.

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It’s been more than 70 years since the liberation of the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in southern Poland, and staffers at the museum dedicated to the memory of those murdered at the camp are still uncovering fascinating secrets of how desperate families tried to preserve their valuables.

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“[The jewelry] was very well hidden,” noted Hanna Kubik of the Memorial Collections. “However, due to the passage of time, the materials underwent gradual degradation, and the second bottom separated from the mug.”

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Under the false bottom was a women’s ring and a necklace wrapped in a piece of canvas. Both were made of 14-karat gold and fabricated in Poland between the years of 1921 and 1931.

The German Nazis of World War II routinely lied to deportees, telling them that they were being resettled in new locations and that they should take some luggage. The deportees, most of whom were Jews, were actually being transported to concentration camps for extermination. By allowing them to travel with luggage, the Nazis were certain the deportees would bring their valuables, which could be easily confiscated.

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The innovative ways in which the victims hid their most valuable possessions reflects their understanding of the “robbery nature of the deportation” as well as the “ray of hope that these items would be required for their existence,” stressed Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum director Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński.

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The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp claimed an estimated 1.1 million lives during the Holocaust. While most of the victims were Jewish, the Germans also killed Poles, Gypsies, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, French, Soviets and others at the camp.

The Collections of the Memorial comprises more than 12,000-enameled kitchenware items, including cups, pots, bowls, kettles, jugs and crockery, many decorated with images of animals and children playing. The jewelry discovery occurred during routine maintenance of the collection.

Museum curators will be returning the jewelry of the false-bottom mug to its original state, reflecting the manner in which it had been hidden by its original owner.

Photos courtesy of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, auschwitz.org.

Times Square Jumbotron Proposal Gets a Shout-Out From Host Jimmy Fallon on ‘The Tonight Show’

When Jimmy Fallon mentions your marriage proposal during his opening monologue on The Tonight Show, you know you’ve done something momentous.

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Last weekend, New York City television producer A.J. Hall enlisted the help of his girlfriend’s boss and the Sony Jumbotron in Times Square to deliver an epic proposal to Nicole Pagano.

Pagano, who is a communications associate for The Daily Mail, was out with some friends when her boss called saying he unexpectedly had to leave town. He asked Pagano if she would like to have his reservations at the swank Polo Bar, a place she’s always wanted to go. In addition, he asked her to be in Times Square at exactly 9:15 to view a Daily Mail video that would be debuting at that time on the mammoth Jumbotron at 1 Times Square, the same building that hosts the descending Apple on New Year’s Eve.

Pagano called Hall with the good news and the two planned for an exciting night on the town. The date marked the two-year anniversary of their first date. Unbeknownst to Pagano, the Polo Bar/Jumbotron story was an elaborate ruse devised by Hall.

She and Hall arrived at the the four-story-tall video board at exactly the right time, but it was showing an odd piece that made no mention of The Daily Mail. The video depicted images of New York City landmarks and then a series of titles that completed a message: “We Fell In Love — Tonight — History — Happens — Again — Are You Ready?”

“I was just thinking, ‘I can’t believe they approved this! It has nothing to do with the brand!’” Pagano told madworldnews.com

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But, then a bunch of images looked very familiar. Hall, a producer for Fox & Friends, had created a video that was a story of their relationship. The next image showed Hall kissing Pagano on the cheek and then one of Hall holding a large cue card with the phrase, “Marry Me?”

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Pagano screamed, “Oh my god!’ and held her hand over her mouth in disbelief as her boyfriend of two years knelt down in the middle of Times Square and popped the question with a diamond engagement ring in hand. Pagano’s answer was a resounding “Yes,” as onlookers cheered their approval.

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With the ring safely on her finger, Pagano kissed her fiancé and stared wide-eyed at the raucous Times Square crowd, which included a larger-than-life Elmo and Cookie Monster.

A moment later, Pagano’s parents — who had been hiding out of site — emerged on the scene to offer the couple hugs and their congratulations.

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“She’s the best and she deserves the best, so I wanted the best possible idea,” A.J. told The Daily Mail. “I wanted to go big or go home.”

Last Wednesday night, the story caught the attention of Fallon and the comedy writers of The Tonight Show.

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“Here’s a local story. I saw that a man from New York proposed to his girlfriend by playing a video on one of the giant billboards in Times Square,” Fallon said to the “awws” of his studio audience.

“It was a beautiful moment until Times Square Elmo said (at this point, Fallon takes a puff from an invisible cigarette and transitions into his toughest New York City accent), ‘I give it two months. They don’t look like they like each other… Wanna take a picture?'”

Pagano noted the awesomeness of the moment with this post on her Facebook page…

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See Fallon’s monologue here...

See the Times Square proposal below…

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube/Inside Edition and YouTube/Brian Michael Tully, NBC/Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; Instagram/Nicole Pagano; Facebook/AJ Hall.