A Handfasting is a beautiful old Pagan custom dating back to the time of the ancient Celts and where the saying ‘Tying the Knot’ came from. In the traditions of Celtic Handfasting the couple’s wrists are bound together using ribbons of different colours. With each colour having it’s own special meaning. A Handfasting was originally more like an engagement period, where two people would declare a binding union between themselves for a year and a day. The original Handfasting ritual was a trial marriage and seen as a rite of passage. It gave the couple the chance to see if they could survive marriage to each other. After a year the couple could either split as if they had never been married or could decide to enter permanently into marriage. It was also used as tangible proof of the marriage because in ancient times they didn’t have licenses, pictures, or videotapes, but they could keep a cord as proof and a reminder of their love and commitment.
A Handfasting can be woven into your wedding ceremony, blessing, vow renewal or commitment ceremony and can be tailor made to suit you. Becky and Mel’s Handfasting cord was made by Becky and holds extra special meaning as she wove in the love and dreams that she holds for them during their ceremony and in the future, they married at the beautiful Bodsgallen Hall in North Wales and the handfasting ceremony is particularly relevant to Becky’s Celtic Welsh heritage.
There are many variations of the traditional Handfasting. The hands of the couple are clasped and fastened together with a cord or cords before, after, or during their vows are made to one another. The wrapping of the cord forms an infinity symbol and the Handfasting knot that is tied is a symbolic representation of oneness between the couple. It is love which binds them together and love that brings them to their wedding day. Confirming their unity, they become bound to each other, the cord creating a circle of their never ending love.
The cord can be made of many different kinds of materials and can have emblems and charms etc sewn into them using colours that hold special meaning to the couple. In Pagan ceremonies they are made and prayed over by a pagan Priest or Priestess. Alison and Brad’s Handfasting was created with rainbow ribbons on which were written the thoughts, hopes, well wishes, and blessings of friends and family as they began their union as husband and wife. Something for Brad and Alison to keep as their eternal circle of love, to remember the day that they married and the good wishes of everyone that shared their wedding day that took place in the open air in at the beautiful Peak District Farm Weddings under a canopy of trees and surrounded by their circle of family and friends.
Couples today are adopting this ancient custom as they lean towards much more personalised ceremonies that borrow from other traditions, blending tradition with something of their own personalities ‘Tradition with a Twist’, crafting their ceremonies with their Celebrant to match their distinctive personalities. Because the cord is specially made for the couple, using colours that reflect traits of their personalities, unique qualities and values, you can see that they capture perfectly the originality and meaning behind creating personalised ceremonies.
Red: passion, strength, lust, fertility
Orange: encouragement, attraction, kindness, plenty
Yellow: charm, confidence, joy, balance
Green: finances, fertility, charity, prosperity, health
Blue: tranquillity, patience, devotion, sincerity
Purple: Power, piety, sanctity, sentimentality
Black: strength, wisdom, vision, success
White: purity, concentration, meditation, peace
Grey: neutrality, cancelling, balance
Pink: unity, honour, truth, romance, happiness
Brown: earth, grounding, talent, telepathy, home
Silver: treasure, values, creativity, inspiration
Gold: energy, wealth, intelligence, longevity
You only get one chance to have your ceremony and as ours is not yet a regulated profession anyone can call themselves a Celebrant. Any professionally trained Celebrant will be more than happy for you to check that they are qualified. I trained with The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants, see my About Liz page for more information.
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