Hand-fasting is a lovely tradition, steeped deeply in Irish history that has a place in your dream Irish wedding. For those couples looking to incorporate something traditionally Irish and romantic, this is a lovely enhancement to consider for your wedding ceremony.
Dating back to ancient Celtic times, hand-fasting was, in the simplest of terms, the official wedding of the ancient Celts. Dating back far beyond 7000 B.C. in ancient Ireland, two people who chose to be married were brought together, often on a feast day such as Beltane, and faced each other. With arms extended, they clasped hands and a braided chord or ribbon was wrapped and tied around their hands, the Druid priest proclaiming the two persons are now engaged. This period of engagement would typically run the length of a full year, during which the couple were encouraged to cohabitate together (and consummate the relationship). It was a public declaration of intent to marry, signaling to potential suitors that the woman was intended to her betrothed and not to be harassed. After the period of a year was over, the engaged couple would return to the priest and declare their intent to be married, which would follow soon after. If they decided they were not a good match, the couple were allowed to dissolve their hand-fast and be free to choose another suitor and bride.
Below is the list of the 13 colours used for hand-fasting and their symbolism:
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
Couples choose colours for hand-fasting based on their symbolism. They may choose as many colours as they like. Couples love the visual representation that hand-fasting provides; "it is literally tying the knot“ right in front of your friends and family. And with some creativity and planning, the hand-fasting can be a truly meaningful keepsake for your wedding and heirloom to pass on to your children later.