Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Celtic Handfasting & My Irish Wedding

   Happy Wednesday dear readers and Welcome to all those who have stopped by from Witch Blog's Real Witches of Halloween Tour! Today I'm doing a special post that is close to my heart, because not only is my blog being featured today but it is also the anniversary of my husband and I being together. Five, short years ago I began dating the most amazing, supportive and wonderful man I have ever known and last July 23, we married in a beautiful handfasting ceremony. The history of this ceremony is what I'd like to share with you all. (As well as some pictures from our ceremony)

   Also, I have my very first giveaway going on currently until October 31. Go HERE to check it out and enter!!  

Today's Month of Pumpkin:

 For a quick sugar fix, spread pumpkin ice cream between; oatmeal cookies or gingersnaps


   Handfasting is a late medieval term to describe making a marriage contract. It is actually comes from Old Norse: Hand-festa, which means to strike a bargain by joining hands. The original practice derived from Scotland, from the middle ages to the early 17th century, when people married by consent, without the church.  A cloth or ribbon is bound around the bride and grooms hands. It is a mutually agreed upon act that has signified, over the years, betrothal or even actual marriage, depending upon the context.

The last cord being tied around mine and my husband's hands

    Originally it was a betrothal or a promise of marriage between two people who would then spend a traditional term of a year and day together to see if they were compatible. After this time, and if they were in agreement the vows could be taken again and they would be considered married. The Handfasting ritual takes its name from the joining and tying of the hands of the couple to be wed, usually with cords. This is where the term "tying the knot" comes from today in reference to getting married. The Handfasting ritual would have been performed by an important member of the community - chieftain, Priest, Priestess, Shaman or Elder, who would have guided the couple through the ritual and presided over them as they exchanged vows in front of witnesses, probably the whole community. The witnessing of the ritual by friends and the community would make it law in the eyes of the community as no official records would have been kept until the introduction of a "Church based" wedding.

Our handfasting cords, made by me, and my bouquet

Our rings were bought from and had
engravings from the Book of Kells

Traditional Celtic Wedding Vow
(We also used this in our wedding)

I vow you the first cut of my meat, the first sip of my wine,
from this day it shall only your name I cry out in the night
and into your eyes that I smile each morning;
I shall be a shield for you back as you are for mine,
no shall a grievous word be spoken about us,
for our marriage is sacred between us and no stranger shall hear my grievance.
Above and beyond this, I will cherish and honor you through this life
and into the next.

Tying the first cord

I was 7 months pregnant at our wedding so belly shots were
a must!

Irish Wedding Blessing

May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
 May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
 May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips,
A twinkle from your eye.
 May the Spirit of Love find a dwelling place in your hearts

The Claddagh; a symbol of Friendship, Love and Loyalty.
We used this symbol on our wedding invitation

You may now kiss your bride

Irish Wedding Traditions

It's good luck if it rains on your wedding

A man should be the first to congratulate the bride. It's bad luck if a woman gets there first.

It's good luck to rise with to the song of birds on your wedding day.

It's bad luck to put on your own veil; have a well-married woman do the honors.

The bride shouldn't take both feet off the floor when dancing with her new husband. It gives the fairies an edge.

Marry in white, everything's right
Marry in blue, lover be true
Marry in pink, spirits will sink
Marry in grey, live far away
Marry in brown, live out of town
Marry in green, ashamed to be seen
Marry in yellow, ashamed of your fellow
Marry in black, wish you were back
Marry in red, wish you were dead
Marry in tan, he'll be a loved man
Marry in pearl, you'll live in a whirl
The chime of bells reminds a couple of their wedding vows. That's why giving a bell as a gift has become an Irish tradition.
(Our wedding favors were small silver bells with a blessing on the card)

Many Irish brides carry a small porcelain horseshoe in their wedding bouquets for good luck

The wearing of Claddaugh rings are probably the most popular Irish wedding rituals. When worn on the right hand, the ring indicates that love is "being considered." When the ring is placed on the left hand the wearer is married or has been handfasted.


Lyn said...

Happy anniversary! You looked beautiful if your handfasting photos :-) Wishing you many more happy years together. Lyn x

Land, Sky & Sea said...

Thanks so much for the kind words! Thanks for stopping by. :)

Drew Watts said...

Congratulations on your first anniversary and hope you had a wonderful time. I am going to arrange my cousin’s wedding in couple of months and want to arrange it in a grand fashion. Have searched online and found exemplary wedding venues nyc. Looking forward to book best one.

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