The expression ‘hand fasting’ comes from the custom of formally uniting a couple by binding their hands together with ribbon or twine. This is where the terms ‘giving one’s hand in marriage’ and ‘tying the knot’ comes from and the tradition appears to be as old as the written language and is practiced in many cultures
Hand fasting in Scotland is believed to be rooted in the countries Norse culture with Danes having the option of “hand-vesten” to illustrate their commitment. Today the revival of this tradition has become a part of many wedding ceremonies when couples’ hands are bound with ribbons or a tartan sash to signify their lasting bond and unity.
The excited couple will face each other, place their palms together, and with spoken promises (see below) the chord is wrapped around the hands. The ceremony is then made complete with the tying of a knot to form an undying loop in the material before the hands are released. The loop remains forever as a visual reminder of the special bond and promise made in front of loved ones.
Couples may select one single chord, or include multiple coloured chords woven together to represent a combination of different promises, family tartans and qualities. Another unique addition is asking friends or family members to assist by adding their own cords to the finished piece.
Examples promises that can be used to accompany each loop of the hand fasting, are included below, Star Celebrant will guide you through this or assist with creating your own wording/promises:
- These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
- These are the hands that will love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.
- These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.
- These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.
- These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.