What is a Hand Fasting Ceremony?

What is a Hand Fasting Ceremony?

Have you ever heard of a handfasting ceremony? What comes to your mind whenever you hear of it? Well, here are some of the things that you need to know about handfasting ceremonies.

In a nutshell, the handfasting ceremony is an old Celtic ritual whereby couples’ hands were tied together in a show of binding their lives together. This kind of ceremony has been witnessed in both secular and religious marriage ceremonies. So, what are some of the most frequently asked questions about the handfasting ceremony? We’ve compiled some of them here for you including the issue of dancing on a cloud.

What is the history of the handfasting ceremony?

According to wedding planning experts, the origins of the handfasting ceremony can be traced back to 7000 B.C. this ceremony has its roots in the very ancient Celtic tradition. Experts in this field explain that when two people wanted to marry, their hands were tied together using a ribbon or some braided cord with a priest witnessing the ceremony. Typically, this act symbolized the engagement of the couple and would last for at least a year or so.

To many people, the handfasting ceremony was more of a public acknowledgment or declaration of the intent to marry one another which can be equated to these days’ engagement ceremony.

The couple would return to the priest after the one year is done and tell him that they were either ready to marry or not. If the couple found out that they were not so good suiters to one another, they would be set free to look for other people of their choice. Fast forward to today’s generation, the handfasting ceremony is either integrated into the wedding ceremony itself or can be an event of its own.

Who oversees the handfasting ceremony?

There is no one specific person who is mandated to officiate the handfasting ceremony. A couple can find their own choice of person to oversee the ceremony or look for someone more familiar with this kind of ceremony or one who at least performs them regularly because such a person is more informed.

How are hands tied?

The question of whether there is a specific way the hands should be tied has popped up more often. In most cases, the hands are tied crossing each other. That is a couple taking their partner’s right hand in their right hand and the same case to their left hand.


Who ought to tie the hands?

Traditionally, whoever is officiating the ceremony should be the one tying the hands of the couples. But some couples are nowadays having some of their family members tie them while some more couples add more cords or ribbons.

Is there a specific type of material that should be used in the handfasting ceremony?

Typically, people use either cords or ribbons to tie the hands of the lovebirds in this kind of ceremony. But the type of material to use is not cast on stones. Some couples have previously used other kinds of material to do the tying. some couples go as far as adding some beads or other decorations on the cords or ribbons.

How long should the couple remain tied?

Many years ago, the couple was supposed to remain bound at least until midnight. When removing the cord or ribbon, the couple was supposed to slide the hands-off for the knot to remain intact and bring it to their home.

Is there a specific color that is preferred in the handfasting ceremony?

There is no such thing as the right or wrong color to be used. In most cases, the color of the ribbon or cord is determined by the couples’ chosen theme of the wedding ceremony or simply their favorite color.

Any number of pieces of materials should be used?

Again, there is no specified number of materials or cords that should be used in the handfasting ceremony. A couple can elect to use as many or few as they so wish. But most couples prefer something that they can later on piece together as a symbol of joining their lives together and, in that case, many have found themselves using three pieces.

There you go! Apart from tent draping to make a wedding ceremony more colorful, here is what you need to know about the handfasting ceremony.


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