We have all heard the expressions “giving one’s hand in marriage” or “tied the knot”. But have you ever wondered where those sayings came from?
This past weekend, I had the privilege of being invited to one of our friends wedding. They performed the “Hand Fasting Ceremony” which I hadn’t seen performed in North America before.
I have always thought this ritual was a beautiful touch to a ceremony, so I thought I would share it with you. The ceremony was especially common in Ireland and Scotland. It was the way that couples were “officially” married before the church became involved in Wedding ceremonies.
Hand fasting is the binding of a couples hands together, using a rope, a scarf, ribbons, or strips of fabric. It is meant to signify a couples love and fidelity and the coming together as “One”. My father used to say “it kept the groom from running away”.
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