Handfasting Tradition – The Origin of Tying the Knot
Handfasting is an age old tradition practiced by the Celtics. It’s a custom of performing trial marriage ceremonies similar to betrothal or today’s engagement period. It involved couples publicly declaring their intention of marrying. These days, it is still being practiced by Pagans, Neo-pagans, Wiccans and romantic couples.
Handfasting used to be an official arrangement of marriage for one year plus one day, or another predetermined time frame. It is something like a trial marriage to testa couple’s relationship. After the set time frame, the couple will then decide if they still want to pursue an official wedding or to go their own separate ways.
Before Christianity, this was the way most people where married with civilians and community members supervising the contracts and agreements. Today, it is usually the civil court or church that takes care of these matters. The term “handfasting” originated from the custom of literally fastening or tying the groom and brides hands together during the ceremony.
This grew out of the tradition of shaking hands to close a deal or agreement. Back then the ceremony required the couple to come face to face with each other and hold each other’s hands forming an infinity sign like a number 8. A cord is bound on their wrists to fasten them together. The cords was only untied after the marriage was consummated.