Yesterday was my wedding anniversary – seven years since I tied the knot. So it got me wondering about the origins of “tying the knot”. Here’s my fave little bits of useless knowledge to enlighten your day (NB I recommend some care if ever google imaging about tying knots – activity best not undertaken around children… and husbands for that matter ;)).
Joshua Withers – “marriage celebrant that only does fun weddings” (who wouldn’t want Josh?! – love it) informed me that before the 18th century most marriages were not officiated in churches, but in the local village or forest, in a simple ceremony where the two people came together, and the symbolic gesture of this two-become-one ceremony were their hands being tied together. Between 1753 and 1939 in my bonnie homeland of Scotland handfasting ceremonies were banned because only the church could officiate weddings.
Several sources suggested that the term comes from the fact that before the luxury of today’s sprung bases and pillow tops, beds were strung together from rope and wood. To make a marriage bed you literally needed to “tie the knot”. My favourite addition to this little nugget was the suggestion that the term actually arose from the fact that on the wedding night the bed would require additional strength and agility from extra knotted rope.
And I liked this one – illiterate sailors and soldiers would send piece of rope to their sweethearts when they wanted to get married – if the rope came back with a knot in it that was a “yes”! hmmmm diamond ring or piece of rope? Am sure Christian Grey might have been a fan of this tradition…..