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Handfasting ~ A Wedding Ritual
What Is Handfasting?
The term Handfasting is taken from Old Norse "hand-festa" meaning "to strike a bargain by joining hands". Handfasting is the tradition of lightly binding the hands of a couple together using a cord, rope, ribbons, a scarf, tartan or strips of fabric. It is meant to signify a couples coming together as "One". (or perhaps to keep the Groom from running away!) Whatever it's original intention, it has become a popular new tradition for today's couples seeking new and Spiritual ways to honour their love.
Origins Of Handfasting
Handfasting was originally practiced by the Greeks and Romans. The Romans created a garland made of magnolia, elder and roses. It was then wrapped around the couple's wrists to signify love and fidelity. In ancient legends, lovers were united together as they "tied the knot" in the tradition of Celtic handfasting. The ceremony was especially common in Ireland and Scotland. It was commonly the way that couples were "officially" married before the church became involved in Wedding ceremonies. Variations on the theme have since been used in other countries as well. Handfasting has seen a modern day resurgence owing in part to the movie Braveheart,in which William Wallace and his girlfriend Murron are joined together with a handfasting ceremony. This has especially been true in Scotland where the movie is based.
Photo: Handfasting during a civil ceremony in Ukraine. The cloth is a ceremonial rushnyk decorated with traditional Ukrainian embroidery.
The Colours Of Handfasting
In the traditions of Celtic handfasting the couple's wrists are bound together using ribbons of thirteen different colours. Each colour has it's own special meaning:
Red: passion, strength, lust, fertility
Orange: encouragement, attraction, kindness, plenty
Yellow: charm, confidence, joy, balance
Green: finances, fertility, charity, prosperity, health
Blue: tranquility, patience, devotion, sincerity
Purple: Power, piety, sanctity, sentimentality
Black: strength, wisdom, vision, success
White: purity, concentration, meditation, peace
Gray: neutrality, canceling, balance
Pink: unity, honor, truth, romance, happiness
Brown: earth, grounding, talent, telepathy, home
Silver: treasure, values, creativity, inspiration
Gold: energy, wealth, intelligence, longevity
Colour list provided by the Reverend David James of Mt. Kisco, NY.
Article source: My Spiritual Wedding
Handfasting is non religion specific, in other words, it is not Pagan or Christian, however it has become a favoured Wedding ceremony for Wiccans and Pagan groups. Wiccan or Pagan ceremonies may involve different rituals such as forming a circle with stones, flowers or crystals. A ritual used in some Pagan, Wiccan and also Christian ceremonies, has the couple jumping over a broom. Jumping over the broom represents crossing over a threshold into a new life together.