Handfasting Ritual—The Tie That Binds

Pretty red bow of loveHandfasting is a beautiful wedding ritual that more and more couples are embracing as a way to show their wedding bond. Using a cord, ribbon or cloth to wrap together their holding hands, the hand tying is a lovely action that symbolizes the couple’s union.

Although most often associated with pagan or Celtic ceremonies, hand tying of some sort is actually found in a vast array of cultures (Ukranian rushnik hand tying, Hindu hasthagranthi binding, Buddhist’s mala hand wrapping, Hispanic lasso around couple, to name a few). Considered a legal practice in England until 1753, handfasting was a common-law way to marry. Performed without an officiant, the binding took place in front of witnesses while the couple declared themselves united. Most often couples held each other’s hands in a crisscross manner in order to form the figure 8, the sign of infinity.

These days, couples are using the figurative binding of their hands for their unity ceremony regardless of their background. One of the reasons why couples choose this ceremony is the great creativity and flexibility of the ritual. You can involve any of you loved ones in the actual tying. You might ask your maid of honor and best man to wrap your hands or perhaps your parents can help out, or even children.

Tie the knot!The creativity continues with the materials. A handfasting cord can be whatever you want so make the ceremony your own by including something that has meaning to the two of you. Choose materials in your favorite colors and braid them or twist them together. Knit, crochet or macramé the materials into a rope. If you aren’t crafty, get someone from your family who is and ask them to create a beautiful sash for you. Or maybe you have a cloth that has been handed down across generations in one of your families. Whether you use lovely ribbons, sashes, ropes, greenery or other materials that speak to you as your cord, the handfasting cord and ceremony will make your wedding truly unique.

So why not consider literally tying the knot in your wedding ceremony with a handfasting ritual to symbolize your eternal bond? You will feel the connection during the wedding and you’ll have a magnificent keepsake to always treasure afterwards.

For some beautiful images of handfasting cords, take a look at my Pinterest Board and get creative as you design your own handfasting ceremony.

XOXO Rachel

Published by Rachel Mueller-Lust

I'm a writer, artist, executive & life coach, wedding officiant & Life-Cycle Celebrant®, psychologist, media researcher and teacher. I explore language, relationship & connection, living a fulfilling life and the beauty & wonder of the world.

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