You are currently viewing The Origin of the Expression: Tying the Knot

The Origin of the Expression: Tying the Knot

Like many marriage rituals, the expression “tying the knot” originates in ancient history and tradition.

It’s know the ancient Mayans, the Hindu Vedic community engaged in a ritual which involving tying or binding a couple’s hands together as a symbol of bethoval.

A simpler ritual originated around the Middle Ages when the Celts also engaged in a ceremony called “handfasting”.  The ritual involved tying the couple’s hands. Initially the ritual was a symbol of engagement, rather than marriage and it took place one year and one day prior to the anticipated wedding day.  The purpose was to announce the intention to wed and strengthen the bond between the couple in preparation for the official wedding  It was, if you like, a pre-marriage arrangement similar to our engagement practice today.

In fact, tied knots are symbolic of marriages and love in many cultures and places. In the Roman times, a bride would wear a belt tied in a “Hercules knot”. The knot was said to indicate the binding character of the marriage oath.

Prior to 1939, the ceremony of handfasting was recognised by Scotland as a legally recognised marriage practice in place of the church wedding.

Some brides and grooms choose to “tie the knot” by incorporating the ritual of handfasting into their wedding ceremony today.

The phrase “hand in marriage” also stems from the practice of “handfasting”.