Celtic Handfasting - Why this Ancient Wedding Tradition is Back

Celtic Handfasting Ritual

The ancient Celtic wedding tradition of Handfasting is one of the fastest growing trends to emerge once more and is being seen at weddings of all types both in Ireland and globally in recent times.

So what is this symbolic ceremony and why is it proving so popular? While church ceremonies are still the most favored option for Irish couples right now, Humanist and secular weddings are on the rise and they are bringing about the emergence of both old and new rituals.

Handfasting has its roots firmly in Celtic traditions. It is an ideal inclusion for couples who want to add some Irish traditions and elements in to their big day. It was the official way that the ancient Celts wed and dates back as far as 7000BC.  

Handfasting adds a talk ability factor to any wedding and can really add depth and meaning to the day. The entire wedding party or best man or bridesmaid or special guests are invited to bring a piece of ribbon or cloth and they then come forward to tie a knot around the couple’s clasped hands as they say their vows. The couple stand facing each other and with arms extended.

The ceremony can be completely personalized and an additional layer of interest can be added by using personal items, county colors, old wedding dress material or linen with special meaning for the handfasting ceremony.  

Some couples even design a piece of material especially for the day and then retain it as a keepsake from their wedding afterwards. Some choose to create embroidered replicas and distribute them to the guests as a special memory.  

Marriage is often referred to as ‘tying the knot’ and couples and guests really enjoy the visual representation of doing just that. Handfasting is proving to be a meaningful and symbolic way of keeping an ancient Irish tradition alive.
Posted on August 22, 2019

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