'Tying the knot' with style
Hand fasting is a lovely Celtic ritual, which can be used in any wedding ceremony and is particularly suitable for a couple with a Irish, Scottish, Welsh or other Celtic background who would like to somehow acknowledge their cultural heritage. In ancient Celtic tradition hand fasting or hand binding, which involves binding the bride and groom’s hands together with cords or ribbons, was one of the earlier forms of the wedding ceremony. It is how the term “tying the knot” originated.
In Celtic tradition these cords were sometimes kept in place on the couples hands for several days after the ceremony. You can imagine the challenge this presented the couple - literally tied to one another 24/7! However, it was used to test and encourage them to fully cooperate and work together as a team. In ceremonies which I perform, after we've tied the knot, I take the tied cords off their hands and give the knot to the couple which they can treasure as a memento of the day.
In the top photo on the right Liam and Amy wanted to honour their Scottish and Irish heritage, and also chose to have green and black ribbons to acknowledge their Australian and New Zealand backgrounds. In the photo below it John and Maria decided to have seven ribbons with each colour representing one of the seven chakras or energy centres in the body, representing the various levels of communication in the marriage. It was quite spectacular!
I came across this article in The Scotsman recently about the Scottish origins of the custom, and it makes for interesting reading.