I have no experience with marriage (simply because I am against it) but I have watched a great number of films and I have also attended lots of marriage ceremonies when the plot goes like this … “Will you have one another to be a husband and wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love each other, comfort and support, honor and keep one another, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, be faithful as long as you both shall live?” … And then the answers are always (almost always 😉 ) “I will”.
This Declaration of Consent is always proven by wedding and engagement rings, a visible symbol of spouses’ devotion, love and spiritual union till the end of their life, on the fourth finger of the left hand where vena amoris is. And do you know how Sardinian faith is declared? Well, in the same way but their faith is called fedesarda and there is a nice legend related to the island’s mythology.
Once upon a time, in pre-nuragic era, there lived fairies known as Janas who lived in stone chambers and dwellings called Domus de Janas. Those nice creatures spent their days weaving golden and silver threads into fabrics which they always decorated with precious stones. When a lad wanted to propose to his lady, he had to ask the Janas to help and protect him (hmmm …. to help and protect him from whom? …. from his future wife?!?! Okay, okay … I am kidding. I know we aren’t such monsters after marriage … 😉 ) So, he asked the fairies for help and protection and in their turn they would weave a very special band which the young man had to put on his future wife’s ring finger.
I will open a bracket here. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans had a tradition to wear their faith in their husband on the fourth finger. They also chose the left hand. And do you know why? Because they believed that the arteria in the ring finger went directly to the heart which was the “headquarters” of love, sentiments and feelings. They called the vein “vena amoris” (“the vein of love”) That tradition was kept also during the barbaric period and it symbolized a man’s promise, power and his “conquest” of a woman. Later the tradition was transferred into Christianity as well. A priest touches the left ring finger after the first three which symbolize the Saint Trinity (Father – Son – Holy Son). Bracket closed.
La fedesarda is a type crafted engagement and wedding ring which is golden or silver filigree with a high symbolic value for the natives. It is made up of small joint spheres which represent corn grains and we all know that the latter are symbols of prosperity and the indissoluble bond between spouses, between her and him, between bride and groom. But in Sardinia they don’t symbolize only that unity but also the bond between the new family and Sardinia which is their only homeland.
I will end this post with the marriage vow in Italian “Io prendo te, tu prendi me” (“I will”) but I will also add what one of my Italian friends always says in addition …. “Era la colpa del prete” (“It was the priest’s fault”). 😉