What is hand fasting?

Susan Foxall Ceremonies, Handfastings, Uncategorised, Weddings

This post is all about handfasting – I am asked many times what handfasting is, so here’s a brief lesson!

For more details, please contact me to learn about this beautiful ancient ritual – it’s where marriage began.

The term Handfasting comes from an Old Norse  meaning “to strike a bargain by joining hands”.

Orginally couples were joined together in this way in Britain before the 1750s when the Marriage Act ended the custom as the Church got involved.

In ancient Greece and Rome garlands were made of magnolia, elder and roses which was then wrapped around the couple’s wrists to signify love and fidelity. This is where the expression ‘tie the knot’ comes from and is also why the minister in a church service says the words ‘let no man put asunder’ – after he or she has wrapped the couples wrists in a sash.

Handfasting rituals in ancient Europe symbolized the betrothal of a couple and involved the lightly tying together of the couple’s hands with a ribbon or cord. These days, the plaited cords can be chosen to match or complement your colour theme.  Couples can be handfasted for a year and a day, – also known as ‘betrothal’. If this type of handfasting is chosen the couple return a year and 1 day to make the handfasting permanent. The ceremony has no legal standing in today’s laws but brings a spiritual significance in the eyes of the couple.

Many ancient customs can be incorporated into modern-day wedding ceremonies, such as Jumping the Broom, drinking from a Loving Cup or ‘quaich’,  a Sand ceremony, and many more beautiful symbolic rituals adding a unique touch to your wedding day.

The ceremony was especially common in Ireland and Scotland. and is enjoying a come-back in popularity because of its inclusion in film and television story-lines.

Contact me to find out more about weaving these ancient customs into your ceremony – only a Celebrant can do this for you!