What is handfasting? You may have heard or read the term somewhere while planning your wedding, specifically your ceremony. Today we’ll tell you what it is and show you where to buy a handfasting cord for your ceremony if you’d like to include this ritual in your big day.
What is Handfasting?
First things first: what is handfasting? Handfasting is an ancient ritual which dates back to Celtic tribes. The term handfasting derives from Old Norse (hand-festa), which literally means to strike a bargain by joining hands. This is similar to the notion of a handshake — it represents a deal or a vow. A handfasting ceremony, then, is a commitment joining two people in unity for a lifetime.
Handfasting is an old custom and many couples today still integrate a handfasting ceremony as part of their wedding celebration. A handfasting ceremony entails gently wrapping cords or ribbons around the couple’s clasped hands and tying a knot. The knot symbolizes the binding together of a couple in unity.
What kind of handfasting cord to use
If you’re planning a handfasting ceremony, you’ll want handfasting cord to do it. The lovely Embracing Union takes all the guesswork out of this unique keepsake and is an expert in beautifully crafted handfasting cords. Here are just a few of the creations she has designed for couples:
When to untie the handfasting cords
The cords are never untied! The cords are designed to be tied tightly bound, but so you can carefully slip your hands out. Many couples choose to place the tied handfasting cord in a special place, such as a keepsake box or on the mantle. If the cord comes untied accidentally, it doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed — simply retie as best as you can.
What is handfasting: sample handfasting vows
You can get sample handfasting vows from Officiant Eric.
Can you have a handfasting ceremony instead of a wedding ceremony?
You can, if you’d like! However, keep in mind that handfasting is a unity ceremony and is not legally binding, so you will also need to have an officiant and proper paperwork filed for government purposes. Simply check the laws in your local area, just to be sure.
We’ve covered just the bases here on the handfasting ceremony, but there’s more to learn! If you’d like more about handfasting and its origins, including color symbolism and sample vows, check out this helpful page. You can also find handfasting cords at EmbracingUnion. You’ll also love the beautiful handfasting vows we found here.
Are you going to have a handfasting ceremony? What do you think of this tradition? Tell us in the comments below!