Friday, 12 July 2013

Hand fasting.

The story line in various soaps is often grim and sometimes reflect events in our own life . I got hooked on Emmerdale whilst it was still a day time soap and I could only watch it in school holidays.
Last night in a particularly harrowing episode I heard a phrase I've never heard before on television.
"Have you ever heard of hand fasting . It's pagan! "
Well it was pagan it is true, a Celtic custom involving straw to bind the hands of a couple together as they plight their troth,
As with many a good pagan festival us Christians knew a good symbolic idea when we saw it. It's now part of the marriage service. I do a hand fasting every time I marry people. I always explain to the couple at the rehearsal what I am doing but basically it involves wrapping the couples hands together , complete with their new rings in my stole.
It's highly symbolic of being tied together for the rest of their lives and both they and the congregation love it!
So no matter what they say on Emmerdale it's not necessarily pagan. We Christians pinched it!


  1. I love Emmerdale too Jean, and like you have watched it forever.
    The 'hand-fasting' thing struck echoes with me, since Archdruid Eileen of the Beaker Folk blog refers to it regularly.
    St. Mary's uses it too though I've never had a good view of it since sitting in the choir stalls means we lose sight of most of what goes on in a wedding ceremony.
    It is a lovely bit of symbolism.

    1. It is makes the couples giggle at the rehearsal but their faces show real joy when it's done in the service.