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Handfasting Traditions

Handfasting (Afrocenric)

In some African tribes, the bride and groom have their wrists tied together with cloth or braided grass. To symbolize your own unity, have your officiant or a close friend tie your wrists together with a piece of kente cloth or a strand of cowrie shells (symbols of fertility and prosperity) while affirming your oneness.

Handfasting (Celtic)

Handfasting was practiced by the Celts, among other people, during the Middle Ages. A year after the couple was handfasted they were officially considered a married couple. Many practicing pagans and Wiccans use the ritual as their wedding ceremony. It involves much reverence of nature and also the tying together of the bride’s and groom’s wrists or hands. There are many, many versions; go to books and Web sites to find the wording you prefer.

Handfasting (Egypt)

Marriages among the fellahin of northern Egypt take place at night. The bride and groom, along with family and friends, walk through the streets to the church. As they walk, the men carry lanterns and the women sound the joyful zagharit, a shrill, vibrating call. When they arrive, the priest takes a silk cord and passes it over the groom’s right shoulder and under his left arm, trying the thread into a looped knot. The pries says prayers and then unties the groom. He then ties the two wedding rings together with the cord. He questions the bride and groom on their intentions, then unties he rings and places them on the couple’s fingers.

Hasthagranthi (Hindu)

The couple’s hands are tied together with string in a Hindu ritual called Hasthagranthi.  This is followed by Shakhohar, the family roots union, in which the parents place their hands on top of the couple’s to espress their union as a family. A long scarf is then wrapped around the couple in a ritual called Gath Bandhan.

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