Handfasting, What Is It?

Traditional hand tying, “tying the knot”, comes from old Celtic and Norse rituals that symbolize the bond of marriage in the same way that exchanging of rings does in ceremonies today.

The ancient practice of Handfasting emerges from the depths of history. Although its origins can be traced back to pre-Christian traditions in English, Celtic, and Norse cultures, it gained significant popularity in the British Isles during and after the Middle Ages. Handfasting allowed couples to bypass the need for a priest and engage in what is now commonly referred to as a “common law” union.

Handfasting encompassed two distinct variations: one serving as a promise of future engagement (sponsalia per verba de futuro), while the other held legal significance as a wedding ceremony (sponsalia per verba de praesenti). In both instances, a symbolic act of binding involved the intertwining and fastening of a string or cloth around the hands of the couple, signifying their marital union.

In contemporary times, we continue to witness the continuation of this exquisite tradition, which serves a dual purpose in engagements and weddings. The blissful couple’s hands are adorned with intertwined yarn, ribbons, or luxurious fabric, often fashioned into either uncomplicated knots or the eternal loop, based on the couple’s personal preferences. For additional historical details, kindly refer to https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handfasting.

To see examples of how Handfasting knots can be tied, please watch this video by the Humanist Society of Scotland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b8PYOvuWFo