Monday, September 21, 2015
Handfasting Tradition Represents Love and Fidelity
Have you ever wondered about the origins of the phrase "to tie the knot" when talking about weddings? It turns out this saying comes from an ancient custom known as handfasting. This tying together of the bride and groom's hands (wrists) was how couples in Great Britain pledged their betrothal in front of witnesses in ages past. Today it is a popular addition to traditional weddings for couples looking to add a strong cultural or historical element to their ceremony. For example, it was included in the marriage ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The practice of handfasting was originally practiced by the Greeks and Romans. In the Roman celebration, a garland was fashioned from magnolias, elder and roses which they used to wrap around the couple's wrists. This practice represented love and fidelity.
The handfasting ceremony became especially common in Ireland and Scotland and turned out to be the way couples were "officially" married in the times before the church became involved in performing weddings.
Today, many people consider the handfasting a strictly pagan custom often used in non-traditional marriages, but really it is a wedding ritual that can easily be incorporated into a traditional wedding while exchanging vows. In fact, it's a meaningful ritual that makes a perfect choice for couples looking to do something different to symbolize their love, and for those of Scottish or Irish decent it a nice historical tie to their roots.
Traditionally silk cords are used in handfasting, but today some people a personal touch that is meaningful to them. This might include cloth strips or one large piece of cloth made from something that holds special significance, like a piece of a mother or grandmother's wedding dress. Others choose several ribbons or a number of different colors.
This timeless tradition symbolizes the union of two people and their willingness to spend the rest of their lives together. And while the practice itself is an ancient tradition, today couples can find many different versions to choose from whether it is for a wedding or a renewal of vows.