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How to Make a Handfasting Cord

Updated July 20, 2017

The ritual of handfasting can be traced back to Celtic pagan times. Historically, a handfasting was done by a couple as a trial period before marriage. The handfasting time lasted for a year and a day. At the end of the trial period, the couple decided if they would like to make a lasting union. Today, the handfasting ritual is often used as a part of the marriage ceremony itself. Many different pagan and neo-pagan rites use handfasting as part of the ceremony. When deciding on your personal ceremony, research different traditions and build your ceremony to fit the needs and desires of you and your to-be spouse. Write your own vows to be read during the handfasting ritual.

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  1. Knot the ends of the three cords together, leaving an eight inch tail at the end to string beads onto the cords for tassels.

  2. Braid the cords together by crossing the right cord over the centre cord, then crossing the left cord over the centre cord. Repeat these two steps for the braid until there is eight inches of cording remaining.

  3. Knot the ends of the three cords together. Both ends of your cord should be equal, with eight inches remaining on each end for beading.

  4. String beads onto the individual cord ends to make the beaded tassels, leaving enough of the cord left to knot off the ends. Each strand of cord will hold three to eight beads, depending on the size and shape of your beads.

  5. Knot the ends of each cord below the beads. You will have six strands individually beaded. This completes the beaded tassels for your handfasting cord.

  6. Tip

    Any sort of cording or ribbon will work for your handfasting cord. Use colours that have significance for you and your to-be spouse. A handfasting ritual can be incorporated into many different types of ceremonies. Some common colours used in the cords are red for love, green for prosperity, blue for understanding, orange for encouragement, yellow for balance, purple for health, pink for happiness, silver for creativity, gold for prosperity, black for strength and white for truth.

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Things You'll Need

  • 3 Cords, each 6 feet long
  • 18-36 large beads, up to 1 inch long

About the Author

Jessica Daniel has been writing professionally since 2005. She has worked in the arts-and-crafts field, publishing knitting patterns with Lorna's Laces and My Sister's Knits. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and women's studies from St. Xavier University.

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