A Celtic Marriage Custom
A handfasting is a marriage custom in which the hands of the marrying couple are symbolically and literally tied together. It is the origin of the phrase ‘tying the knot.’ Handfasting, because it has never been claimed or standardized by any religion, is very flexible and can be adapted to suit the needs and beliefs of those who choose to use it. Handfasting is a great way to add a touch of Irish heritage to a wedding ceremony. It's a wonderful moment of unity, weaving together the destinies of the couple for all to see. More often than not, 'tying the knot' in this way results in a spontaneous round of applause from the enthralled wedding guests, and of course it's a super photo opportunity as well. Handfasting dates back at least to Celtic Christianity in the Early Middle Ages and perhaps long before that as a folkloric custom of the Celts.
Nothing is written in stone, it all depends upon the intention of the couple. It can be as simple as tying the hands with a cord or as complicated as a lengthy exchange of vows with different coloured cords, each with varying symbolism. The couple may face the celebrant and have two hands tied or face each other and have both of their hands tied.Words or vows may be exchanged or not. For
The intention of the couple is all important - they are announcing and proclaiming in the presence of their community their joining together as husband and wife, and handfasting is a wonderful physical symbol of this, for all to see and enjoy. In the past in Scotland the couple were seen to be married in the eyes of the law after their handfasting, without the need for signatures, witnesses or documentation!
A word of thanks
Gratitude to all of my clients who have generously shared the images of the magic moment of their handfasting using one of my handfasting cord creations. Also credit to the photographers for their wonderful creativity and skill, and thanks for giving me permission to use their images.