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Tie the knot with colorful ritual

Ever wonder how the saying "tie the knot" originated? According to online bridal retailer My Spiritual Wedding (www.myspiritualwedding.com), it is derived from the ancient Celtic tradition of handfasting -- a practice in which a couple's wrists were loosely tied together during their wedding ceremony to symbolize their commitment to each other.

My Spiritual Wedding offers a line of "handasting ribbons" which can be used as a meaningful ritual in your ceremony. In traditional Celtic handfasting, the ribbons binding the couple's wrists are made up of 13 colors, each with its own special meaning. The following list was provided to www.myspiritualwedding.com by the Rev. David James of Mt. Kisco, N.Y.

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

White: purity, concentration, meditation, peace

Gray: neutrality, canceling, balance

Pink: unity, honor, truth, romance, happiness

Brown: earth, grounding, talent, telepathy, home

Silver: treasure, values, creativity, inspiration

Gold: energy, wealth, intelligence, longevity

When Rev. James officiates at a handfasting service, he asks the couple to hold hands or place them side by side, then places the handfasting ribbons around the hands and wrists to "join" the couple. He then reads the following words:

"These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

"These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

"These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears form your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

"These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children. These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.

"These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch."

Other items

My Spiritual Wedding also offers a line of other, unique items designed to add meaning to your ceremony -- including wedding rosaries, memorials for deceased loved ones, glass-breaking pouches for Jewish ceremonies, and "wedding lassos." The latter are typically associated with Hispanic and Filipino cultures, and used during the ceremony to symbolize unity and the love that will bind the couple together for life.