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Customs and Traditions

Anyone ever heard of hand fasting?

My FI and I have decided to not to the unity candle or unity sand things, but I kind of want something to show the same basic concept (two become one) is a unique way.  I came across a brief description of hand fasting in a magaizine, but it didn't give a whole lot of information.  All it said was that the hands of the couple were wrapped in a ribbon or something and that it came from an ancient Celtic tradition possibly.  Does anyone have anymore information about this tradition?
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Re: Anyone ever heard of hand fasting?

  • Okay, a few things here. A wedding is a unity ceremony. There are no 'unique' unity ceremonies left under the sun. And plenty of people do handfastings and have done them for millenia. It is a (pagan) Celtic tradition that was perhaps a betrothal ceremony--but note that a betrothal back then was considered to have the same strength and rights as a marriage vow.

    If you and your groom have Celtic ancestry and feel a handfasting would be meaningful to you, that's great. But I don't get it when people go looking for 'cool' or 'unique' traditions to incorporate when they've never heard of them before. (And I really don't mean to be harsh, I swear. It probably reads that way in text.)
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  • It's a pagan ceremony and it involves a lot of rituals. If you aren't pagan, which I'm guessing you aren't since you don't really know anything about this, I'm not sure this is something you would be interested in. This to me is more religous than unity candle or sand ceremony.

    http://www.ladyoftheearth.com/handfasting/handfasting.html
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  • I know nothing is really unique anymore, but IMO the candles are overdone and the sand is just messy.  I saw this mentioned in a magazine and thought it sounded like a really neat idea.  Many pagan tradtions have been adopted mainstream and somehow modified so as to be acceptable to the masses.  I don't know how problamatic it would be to include in a Catholic ceremony, especially since the unity candles and sand are not part of the religious ceremony either.  They are just something nice many people add in.
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  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    You might want to ask your priest if he's okay with it. I find it hard to imagine a pagan wedding tradition would be acceptable as part of a Catholic Mass.

    Also, it bothers me when people use this religious tradition just to be different. I'm not having a huppah at my wedding, even though I think they're gorgeous, because I'm not Jewish. As pretty as the lasso ceremony is, I'm not using it because I'm not Mexican. Same thing.

  • ootmother2ootmother2 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited August 2012
    I seriously doubt that a Catholic priest would allow a Pagan rite during a Catholic wedding

    A good number of priests have tossed in the towel on the unity candle and sand ceremony but I don't think hand fasting will fly at all
  • Didn't realize you were Catholic. I agree with PPs, a priest is not likely to allow a handfasting. You might as well suggest jumping the broom, since they'd be about as likely to permit that. It is my understanding that the Catholic wedding mass basically can't be altered.
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  • Actually, handfasting was/is still done in Scotland LONG after it became a Christian country. So yes, it has its roots in a pagan tradition, but it is not STRICTLY pagan. 

    As a side note... there is a centuries-old feud between two Scottish clans that resulted from a broken handfasting. They sent the girl home because they weren't "happy" with her - and then the other clan went batsh*t crazy on them. :-)
    abi514
  • My FI and I are both of Scottish and Irish decent.  I love cultures and cultural traditions.  I have already decided to use a Turkish shoe tradition in liu of the boquet toss because I find the latter to be humiliating, and many of my maids agree.  I am looking for some sort of French tradition (his mother's side) and German tradition (my father's side) we could incorporate as well.   Thanks for the input.  By the way, the unity candle has never been part of the liturgy of a Catholic wedding, but I have never been to a Catholic wedding without the unity candle ceremony.  You never know.
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  • We are doing a spin on handfasting, because we like the concept and I don't really get unity candles/sand ceremonies. To involve our closest friends (the wedding party) we're having each bridesmaid take the necktie of her escot and bind our hands together while FH's brother does a reading. It'll probably take forever to get out of, but we like the idea of being 'bound' together by our friends. Ultimately, it's your wedding; do what you want! It's all relative.
  • Handfasting is not very appropriate for a wedding, as it was more akin to an engagement ceremony.

    The couple would complete the ceremony, and be engaged (with more rights, kind of like temporary marriage) for a year.  If they chose after a year to be married, a seperate formal marriage was held.

    I wouldn't recommend using it, because A.) it doesn't really fit what you are looking to do, B.) it might give your priest fits, C.) it could look disrepectful to other people's beliefs to adopt their ceremony because it's trendy looking.
    Don't make me mobilize OffensiveKitten

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  • Unless you're bound by the restraints of a particular religion, I don't think there's anything wrong with adopting another belief system's traditions or customs, if it's done respectfully. That's how we got sand ceremonies, after all....wasn't that an Apache custom?
  • I'm finding it amusing that people are saying pagan tradtions shouldn't be done in a Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has a ton of beliefs and rituals that it adopted from paganism (the trinity, celebration for spring and midwinter, hell, etc).
    ohannabellepterodactylrockclassyduckstef42188
  • Also, it's not limited to the pagan community. It's becoming more and more commonplace. Hell, Prince William and Princess Kate did something of the sort in their wedding ceremony.


  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_anyone-ever-heard-of-hand-fasting?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:268db25e-985a-4e9f-890c-51c2c9796681Post:e3adecdc-e2d8-49a8-b18b-b1e5873cd097">Re: Anyone ever heard of hand fasting?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I'm finding it amusing that people are saying pagan tradtions shouldn't be done in a Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has a ton of beliefs and rituals that it adopted from paganism (the trinity, celebration for spring and midwinter, hell, etc).
    Posted by CatherineEarnshaw[/QUOTE]

    It's not just about whether someone SHOULD do this in a Catholic ceremony, it's that it most likely will not be allowed per the rules of the Catholic Church.  SOME Catholic churches do allow the unity candle because, while it is not Catholic in origin, it's not from any other faith, either.  The handfasting, however, is from another religion and has a specific religious meaning, one that may be at odds with the tenets of Catholocism.  And yes, a lot of Christianity is just repackaged pagan concepts, so an objection to certain pagan traditions can appear to be silly, but the Church isn't going to change its rules anytime soon.

    And frankly, if actual pagans have an objection to yet another of their traditions being reappropriated, especially just so someone can be a special snowflake on her wedding day, I think that's something that should be respected.
  • I'm sorry I brought it up.  Forget I ever asked. :-!/
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  • edited August 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_anyone-ever-heard-of-hand-fasting?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:36Discussion:268db25e-985a-4e9f-890c-51c2c9796681Post:adc8f396-5cc8-4476-a38d-1aab4274aa18">Re: Anyone ever heard of hand fasting?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I'm sorry I brought it up.  Forget I ever asked. :-!/
    Posted by M&MJK[/QUOTE]

    Don't be sorry, this is all valuable info to have when deciding what to have in your ceremony :).  And it's much better to hear it here than bring it up to your priest, and have him have palpitations over it. 

    There are a lot of other non-secular unity ceremonies to explore adding.  Have you thought of doing  a wine ceremony? You could even ask the priest to bless the unity decanter  you are using.
    Don't make me mobilize OffensiveKitten

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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_anyone-ever-heard-of-hand-fasting?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:268db25e-985a-4e9f-890c-51c2c9796681Post:e3adecdc-e2d8-49a8-b18b-b1e5873cd097">Re: Anyone ever heard of hand fasting?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I'm finding it amusing that people are saying pagan tradtions shouldn't be done in a Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has a ton of beliefs and rituals that it adopted from paganism (the trinity, celebration for spring and midwinter, hell, etc).
    Posted by CatherineEarnshaw[/QUOTE]

    Ditto what Stage said in response to this. In addition, just because the Catholic Church hijacked aspects of paganism long ago doesn't give people a free license to keep doing so.  It's a little different for beliefs and traditions to be carried across religious lines due to whole societies converting than it is for people to adopt a religious ritual just because it looks neat. A lot of adopted paganistic qualities of modern christianity came about because it was easier to assimilate  different religious cultures when ties are made through parallels between the two religions and when cultural traditions are allowed to be continued within the new religion.   Not that it makes it right, but it's a little different.  Nobody here is saying that Christians need to give up their Christmas trees, we're just saying that deciding to throw a pagan religious ceremony into a Catholic wedding for no real reason other than being cool and unique, is a bit offensive, and most likely wouldn't slide with the church. 
  • Dreamergirl8812Dreamergirl8812 your closet member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited November 2012
    Do the wine box ceremony! We're doing a modified wine box ceremony. We're using a 2-bottle wine box. A nice bottle of wine will be placed on one side. On the other side is an empty glass wine bottle. During the ceremony we'll place scrolls of handwritten letters to each other in the empty bottle. On our 5 year anniversary we'll smash the empty bottle to retreive the letters and we'll drink the wine.

    Yes, I realize the smashing part isn't for everyone. I think I'll enjoy it immensely; I like smashing things :)

    Anyway, in the traditional ceremony, you place letters to each other under the bottle of wine, to be read on you 5 year anniversary while you drink the wine. There are beautiful wine boxes on Amazon so hopefully we'll be able to display it before and after our 5 year.


    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_anyone-ever-heard-of-hand-fasting?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:268db25e-985a-4e9f-890c-51c2c9796681Post:9b359c18-15f7-4317-a6a7-9d41b28189ad">Anyone ever heard of hand fasting?</a>:
    [QUOTE]My FI and I have decided to not to the unity candle or unity sand things, but I kind of want something to show the same basic concept (two become one) is a unique way.  I came across a brief description of hand fasting in a magaizine, but it didn't give a whole lot of information.  All it said was that the hands of the couple were wrapped in a ribbon or something and that it came from an ancient Celtic tradition possibly.  Does anyone have anymore information about this tradition?
    Posted by M&MJK[/QUOTE]



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  • Dreamergirl8812Dreamergirl8812 your closet member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    SNAP!


    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_anyone-ever-heard-of-hand-fasting?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:268db25e-985a-4e9f-890c-51c2c9796681Post:935ca23c-7c45-49ad-9342-338cd193ffac">Re: Anyone ever heard of hand fasting?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Anyone ever heard of hand fasting? : Um, actually what we're saying is that most Catholic churches won't ALLOW them to be done, not that they "shouldn't" be done.  Reading comprehension, it's not just for passing the ACT anymore.
    Posted by StageManager14[/QUOTE]



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  • mrssonnier414mrssonnier414 member
    First Comment
    edited November 2013
    I am also planning a catholic wedding and my fiancé and I both have always liked the hand fasting ceremony for different reasons. We brought it up to the priest at one of the meetings (completely ready to hear him say no) and he loved the idea. He told us of this small city in Europe somewhere (somewhere in italy) that he visited for a while as a small mission trip and the people there did something similar in their church, which was catholic. They did a hand fasting ceremony while holding a crucifix in their clasped hands that was given to them by a friend or family member and blessed by the priest. The crucifix would become their household crucifix used for prayer and contemplation whenever the couple was going through a tough time or even everyday. The area that this is added to the ceremony has an almost nonexistent divorce rate. It never hurts to ask. It all just depends on how the priest feels about it and the guidelines set by the diocese. It probably also helps that our priest is Irish and appreciates the cultural tradition. Also, I would like to add that a friend of ours is Episcopalian (she calls herself a "diet Catholic") and we have seen a hand fasting in the ceremony of mutual friends. It may have pagan roots, but so does most everything else.
    ohannabelle
  • ohannabelleohannabelle member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer First Anniversary
    edited November 2013
    The "handfasting" was indeed an acceptable Catholic practice, part of the traditional Tridentine mass and rituals. The priest binds your hands together with his stole, usually, I believe, during the "whom god has joined together" part. ("Tridentine" after the council of Trent, and those practices, orders of mass, and prayers were in use from 1570 till the early 1960s.) Tridentine masses are still offered in many cities, typically in Latin, and are not considered contrary to the beliefs of the church. This is also done in the Anglican Church (William and Kate) as well, and in some Eastern Orthodox churches. If you watch the movie Amadeus, you can see the officiating priest wrap the hands in the stole during Mozart's Catholic wedding. Whether it came from Pagans or Romans, or Roman pagans is irrelevant, and lost to history. It is a beautiful symbol of unity in marriage, and if your priest is willing to incorporate Tridentine traditions into a present day ceremony why not? It is not disrespectful to ask, and has been done in thousands of Catholic marriages throughout history.
  • edited November 2013
    This thread is more than a year old; the OP is long gone.

    ETA: @KnotPorscha, can you close those thread please?
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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • DON'T LISTEN TO THE HATERS; DO WHAT YOU WANT.
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    @knotporscha please close this zombie thread being brought back from the dead to induce drama.

     







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