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The Officiant explains the significance of the handfasting ritual by saying: Have you ever wondered where the words "tying the knot' come from? The expression "tying the knot" refers to the traditional Celtic marriage ritual of Handfasting. Handfasting is an ancient Celtic word for wedding, and was recognized as. a binding contract of marriage between a man and a woman before weddings became a legal function of the government or a papal responsibility of the church. After the wedding vows and ring exchange, the couple's hands were bound together with a cord that was tied in a "love knot", signifying the joining of heir lives in a sacred union. Today, handfasting is a symbolic ceremony to honor a couple's desire for commitment to each other, and to acknowledge that their lives and their destinies are now bound together. 

(The Officiant holds up the cord and addresses the couple with these words.) Please hold each other's hands, palms up (her hands resting in his), so you may see the blessing they are to you. (Groom) _______________ and (Bride) _______________, this cord is a symbol of the life you have chosen to live together. Up until this moment you have been separate in thought, words, and deed. But as this cord is tied together, so shall you lives become intertwined. With this cord, I bind you to the vows that you have made to one another. With this knot, I tie you heart to heart, together as one. 

(The Officiant wraps the cord loosely around the Bride's and Groom's wrists to tie a "love knot" and says): (Groom) _______________ and (Bride) _______________, the knot of this binding is not bound by the cord, but rather, by your own vows of love. For, as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union. May this "love knot" always be a reminder of the binding together of your two hands, two hearts, and two souls into one. And so are you bound, each to the other, for all the days of your lives. (Cord may then be removed and placed on the altar. Many couples choose to keep the "love knot" as a memento of their new union created that day.)

NOTE: The Handfasting tradition coordinates well with ready #7, "These Hands" and "Blessing of the Hands."


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