Handfasting & Tying the Knot? What is it and how is it used in a marriage Ceremony?

Before rings, in many cultures, the hands of the bride and groom were tied together, to celebrate the marriage.The Celtic ritual also involves a blessing of hands and the  binding of the couple with a secure knot, hence the term ‘tying of the knot’.

Similar rituals are also found in other cultures including Chinese (see Red String), American Indian,  and some Islander cultures but significantly in Hinduism where it is part of an ancient prayerful ritual and so  should only be performed by a Prasad, hence for Civil Ceremonies, we follow a form of the Celtic tradition.

The couples’ hands are joined together, usually holding hands so the wrists and pulses are touching, with a ribbon or symbolic material looped over the couples wrists and tied by the celebrant or a friend.

The couple express their love and commitment for one another and like the cord or ribbon, which has two individual ends, they are two individuals, and so they become one by the tying.

A handfasting ritual performed during a wedding ceremony, can take place instead of a ring exchange or following it.

For more information and samples, go to Tie the Knot on my Wedding Ideas & Ceremonies tab.

See also The Red String Of Fate & Red Goblet Ceremony. 


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