Wednesday, May 9, 2012

'Tying the Knot'...



So I thought while I was researching where all our 'crazy wedding traditions' came from, I would also look into some of the terminology we use to describe getting married.  I had just posted on facebook that "Megan and Jason were 'Tying the Knot'", when it occurred to me that I had NO idea where that phrase actually came from.  So I thought, this will be easy, I'll do a wee bit of research, get the answer and share with you all.  NOT!  I had no idea that I was going to stumble upon so many different stories as to where this phrase originated...silly me!  

So, here you go...all the different tales as to why we say 'Tying the Knot' when a couple gets married.  And, yes, many have to do with knots!

 
Betrothal Knots...
Before couples started using rings to signify being married, it was believed that they used rope knotted and tied on to different body parts to show they had 'Tied the Knot'.  It is also believed that during the time it took to tie said knots, the 'Father of the Bride' could demand a higher price for his daughter...but once the knots were tied, she was legally bound to her beloved.  Oh my!

  

Lilies of the Nile...
In the Middle East, mainly Persia and Iran, when couples would enter into marriage, they would be separated by a curtain, or cloth, so they could not see each other, and then their wrists would be wrapped and then 'tied' with a piece of cloth.  Then yarn would be wrapped seven times around the couple and knotted seven times to show they were married.  No reasons are given as to why seven times...hmmmm!


Clans Unite...
Medieval Celts, my ancestors, would perform a 'Handfasted Ceremony' where the bride and groom would agree to live together as husband and wife for one year and a day...oh we Celts were so forward thinking...LOL.  Then, at the end of this year and a day, they could agree to part and go their separate ways, or partake in a marriage ceremony with a Priest who would then tie their hands and wrists with a cloth, or piece of each others tartan, to seal the marriage during a 'Handfasting Ceremony'.  Some reports claim the couple also had their wrists cut so that the blood from the bride and groom could be mixed proving the mixing of Clans.  Guess we weren't as forward thinking as I thought...ewww..



When in Rome...
Ancient Greek and Roman brides, it is reported, used to wear a woolen 'girdle' that was intricately tied with Herculean knots so that the groom, after the wedding ceremony, had to untie all the knots in order to consummate the marriage on their wedding night...praying all the time that the 'Gods' would bless him with lots of children. 


A Simple Explanation...
One other theory is that the phrase came from the custom of tying the hands of the bride and groom together during the ceremony and they were not allowed to untie the knots until the marriage had been consummated.

Sailors Knots...
In Sweden many many moons ago, illiterate sailors would send their loved ones a piece of rope while they were out at sea.  If the rope came back to them with a knot in it, it meant his gal agreed to the proposal...if not, well, I guess he was out of luck.  Some say that if a rope tied with a 'true-lovers' knot came back to the sailor tightened very tightly, then, and only then, would the marriage was on.

Shinto ...
In Japan, long ago, a rope would be tied around the wrists of the happy couple joining them together.  In more modern times, however, the rope has been replaced by a sash and is just placed over the couples wrists. 


Necklace of Flowers...
During a Hindu wedding ceremony, the priest tied a knot using the ends of the clothing worn by the bride and groom.during the 'Gathabandhan' portion of the ceremony to signify the tying them to sacred wedlock.  However, some theorize that the bride and groom tied a necklace of flowers around each others necks instead.


Viva Mexico...
And in Mexico, our neighbor to the south, a cord, usually of flowers, is draped over the shoulders of the bride and groom and fastened with a cross during the 'Lasso Ceremony' to show they are bound together and joined by God.


And finally, my favorite... 
Some people actually believe that the saying, 'Tying the Knot' came from the marriage bed.  Because way back in the day, beds frames were tied together with a threading of rope and knots...so, it was believed that the couple actually had to 'tie the knots' of their bed in order to consummate their marriage...LOL.  Love it!  There are no real reports to substantiate this story, but it sounds good, doesn't it...LOL!

Well, regardless of what theory you believe, the saying, 'Tying the Knot' has been around for centuries, since the year 1275, to be exact...and it appears it's here to stay...

Until next time...

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(Photo courtesy of 'Stellasweet Photography')

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