Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
handfasting ceremony: centuries-old tradition of ‘tying the knot’

this tradition shows your union in a solemn and sacred way while incorporating additional meaningful elements to the ceremony.

handfasting is a simple and traditional ceremony in irish, scots, and the welsh which goes back to the medieval and renaissance period.   the ritual includes a loose binding together of the couple’s hands, which also gave rise to the slang phrase “to tie the knot”. 

nowadays, handfasting is a symbolic acknowledgment of the couple’s lives and fates being bound together.   it has been a custom in many cultures and is gaining popularity in modern ceremonies.   there are many forms of handfasting ceremony.  the most traditional way is tying a knot around the couple’s hands with just one single silk cord or a clan’s tartan.  the couple can choose to hold all the hands together to shape an infinity symbol, or hold only right hands together and tie a knot around their wrists.

another practice is a very detailed six-corded ceremony.   in front of all witnesses, the officiant will ask the bride and groom to make 6 promises, including but not limited to share the joys and dreams together, respect each other and not to hurt their spouse or cause him/her anger.  meanwhile, the officiant will drape a cord across the couple’s hands after they said their promises until the sixth is finished. 

however, handfasting ceremony is something including a “pagan” (polytheistic nature religions) element.   before you choose to conduct this rite, make sure your other half and both families are open-minded with this option.   as this ritual has yet to gain popularity in hong kong, be sure to communicate this in advance with your officiant about the handfasting ceremony, you may need to spend more time to work it out, or try to consult your wedding planner.

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