Handfasting Ceremony


As it is used in the Celtic Catholic Church, during the ceremony, the couple join hands and their hands are loosely tied by a rope.  The handfasting lasts only for a few seconds, really, while the couple exchange their vows.

Sometimes a handfasting can use multiple cords representing the bonds of marriage such as, honor, trust, protection, commitment and so on. Hence the saying “ Tying the knot”.  There are many types of hand fasting ceremonies some even with its own unique sets of vows which can be added to your ceremony

At the end of it all in another part of the ceremony which be typically added, they turn to leave and are confronted with a broom which has been put in their path. They have to get over it somehow (we leave the details up to them -- they can walk over it together or he can carry her over it.) This is a symbol that what marriage is about is who sweeps the floor, etc. It is not just pretty dresses and romance.  Called jumping the broom You will see this particular symbolic action in Celtic and African cultures. It has no pagan connotations, really, Scotland was not the only place to practice handfasting. England  also had handfasting. Note that the marriage law in late medieval England was essentially the same as that in Scotland -- all of Roman Catholic Europe had more or less the same marriage law because marriage came under the jurisdiction of canon rather than civil law.


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Handfasting is a symbol used in Celtic and other cultures to express marriage. It is non-religion-specific, meaning it is not pagan or Christian. It is just human. The symbol can be used by anybody, since it expresses part of the reality of matrimony.

Thinking of making a Handfasting part of your wedding ceremony?