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Sunday, February 13, 2011
Hand-fasting Among the Ancient Celts
I write Celtic/erotica/Romance tales of Long Swords, Hot Heroes, and Warrior Women and as Valentine Day approaches, I’m reminded romance was as important in ancient times as it is today. For as the poets say . . . love is timeless.
Love and marriage was so important to the ancient Celts that they had more types of recognized marriages than any other culture. Under the Brehon (Brehoon) laws of Ireland, there were not one, but 10 types of marriage. Plus they had handfasting, another type of Celtic union, it lasted for only a year and a day.
Handfasting predominantly took place at Lughnassadh (LOO-nahs-ah), the Celtic Harvest festival, celebrated August 1. Single men lined up on one side and unmarried women on the other. They paired off and married for a year and a day. The couple’s wrists were literally tied together during the ceremony. This is where we get the expression "tying the knot". The couple had to return to the same place the following year to make their marriage permanent. They could also end the union at that time by simply standing back to back, facing north and south, and walking out. Going their separate ways, single once more.
Here is a short Handfasting excerpt from my Paranormal/Erotica/Romance The Wolf and The Druidess:
“Yes.” Gwydion’s smile filled his face, and his voice rang out with enthusiasm. “I can’t wait for Samhain. I shall have Neithon hand-fast us on the morrow at the feast for the nine warriors.”
“In truth?” Seren leaned her head back and sat up. “I don’t think you asked me if I would hand-fast with you.” She crossed her arms over her bare breasts in a feigned protest.
“You are right.” Gwydion took her hand in his. “Seren, will you wed me?”
“I have to think about it.”
The knot at his throat bobbed.
“Well, you do have gorgeous eyes and full lips.“ She ran her finger slowly across his mouth. “A large, thick pleasure weapon and an even bigger heart.” She patted the left side of his chest where his heart beat. “Then, so be it. I will hand-fast with you.”
Happy Valentine’s Day. Please comment and please drop by my website for more of my Celtic/Romances of Long Swords, Hot Heroes, and Warrior Women at http://CelticRomanceQueen.com