Thursday, October 8, 2009

Handfasting

Handfasting is an old Celtic custom whereby a couple agreed to live together for a period of time, whether it be one year and a day, or a lifetime. If it was to be a temporary arrangement, after the end of that period, they may wed or part ways. It's a NeoPagan ritual that is no longer recognized as a legal marriage in England, Wales or Ireland, but is still considered a legal Pagan wedding in Scotland.

As Christianity was adopted into the ancient Celtic lands, many couples chose to have a combined wedding of their Christian beliefs with some of the Handfasting traditions.

There are many rituals that are part of the ancient Handfasting Ceremony, but one that I've read about often is the minister ties a strip of cloth around the couple's hands. If it is a temporary agreement, it will be loosely tied. If they have a permanent agreement, it will be tied tighter, thus the expression, "tie the knot". The couple will then kiss each other as their first gift to each other. The bride does not necessarily wear a traditional white bridal gown.


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