Handfasting and Wiccaning

Handfasting is a ritual involved in many Pagan and Wiccan marriage ceremonies. Originally, in the time of the ancient Celts (from whom the tradition originated), the handfasting ceremony began a trial period for a couple; its purpose was to let couples see what it was like to be married to one another, and be given the opportunity to decide if it was something they wanted to do. Traditionally, at the end of a year and a day, the couple could either choose to part ways, or to become permanently married. Now, things are done a little differently. Handfasting today can either be part of a legally-legitimized wedding ceremony (complete with catering service), or can simply be a statement of commitment “as long as love shall last” (as opposed to the Christian “til death do us part”). Some Wiccans believe that this trial period be begun on the Sabbat of Lughnasadh, because this time of year was the time for trials.

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