Saturday, March 17, 2012

Weddings Of The World: Irish Handfasting Tradition

What better a post on St. Patrick's Day than the Irish wedding tradition of handfasting.  "Handfasting is the tradition of lightly binding the hands of a couple together using a cord, rope, ribbons, a scarf, tartan or strips of fabric (source)."  While the idea originated with the Greeks and Romans using flowers (source), this wedding ritual took on its current form in Ireland and Scotland.  Since there were not always priests in each town to perform ceremonies, a marriage was legally binding once the couple had performed the handfasting ceremony (source).  Today many couples choose handfasting to honor an Irish/Scottish heritage or if they really love the symbolism of the ritual.  Even Prince William and Catherine incorporated handfasting in their royal wedding last April.    


An Outdoor Handfasting Ceremony 

As for the actual cords/ fabric used to bind couples, each ribbon in your handfasting set has a special meaning (source).  

  • Red: passion, strength, lust, fertility
  • Orange: encouragement, attraction, kindness, plenty
  • Yellow: charm, confidence, joy, balance
  • Green: finances, fertility, charity, prosperity, health
  • Blue: tranquility, patience, devotion, sincerity
  • Purple: Power, piety, sanctity, sentimentality
  • Black: strength, wisdom, vision, success
  • White: purity, concentration, meditation, peace
  • Gray: neutrality, canceling, balance
  • Pink: unity, honor, truth, romance, happiness
  • Brown: earth, grounding, talent, telepathy, home
  • Silver: treasure, values, creativity, inspiration
  • Gold: energy, wealth, intelligence, longevity  (Photo source)

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