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Why do we say tying the knot?

When we talk about getting married, we often use the phrase “tying the knot.” It’s a common expression that has been used for generations to describe the act of two people becoming one in marriage. But where does this phrase come from? What is the history behind it? In this blog post, we’ll explore the origins of the phrase “tying the knot” and its cultural significance through history.

Handfasting: The Celtic Tradition of Tying the Knot

One of the earliest recorded references to “tying the knot” comes from the ancient Celtic tradition of Handfasting. This ritual involved a couple coming together for a year and a day to decide whether they wanted to make a lifelong commitment to each other. During this time, they would join hands and have them tied together with cords, ribbon, or cloth. This act symbolized the binding of their spirits and a commitment to one another.

In some versions of this ritual, the couple would exchange vows while their hands were tied together, and in others, they would jump over a broom together as a symbol of entering into a new phase of their lives. Once the year and a day had passed, the couple would have to decide whether to make their union permanent or to separate and go their separate ways.

The Knot as a Symbol of Unity

Throughout history, knots have been used as symbols of unity and strength. The simple act of tying a knot creates a bond between two objects or people that cannot be easily broken. This symbolism is especially powerful in the context of marriage, where two people are coming together to form a lifelong partnership.

The knot is also associated with the idea of infinity, as it is a never-ending loop that cannot be untied. This symbolism is a reminder that marriage is a commitment that lasts forever, and that the two people who are “tying the knot” are creating a bond that cannot be easily broken.

Tying the Knot in Modern Times

While the tradition of Handfasting has largely fallen out of use, the phrase “tying the knot” continues to be a popular way of referring to marriage. In modern times, many couples choose to incorporate knots into their wedding ceremonies as a way of honoring this tradition.

Some couples choose to have their hands tied together during the ceremony as a symbol of their commitment to one another. Others will incorporate knots into their wedding decor, such as by having a knot-shaped cake topper or using knotted cords as part of their table decorations.

The Cultural Significance of Tying the Knot

The phrase “tying the knot” is not only a symbol of unity and commitment, but it also has cultural significance across the world. In some cultures, knots are seen as a way of protecting against evil or bad luck. For example, in Greece, brides will tuck a small, gold knot into their wedding bouquets to ward off the evil eye.

In other cultures, knots are seen as representations of different aspects of life. In Hinduism, for example, the knot is a symbol of union and represents the joining of individuals into a single entity. In Buddhism, knots are used as a symbol of the interconnectivity of all things.


The phrase “tying the knot” has a rich history that spans cultures and traditions. Whether you’re getting married in the ancient Celtic tradition of Handfasting or simply incorporating knots into your wedding ceremony as a nod to the past, this phrase is a powerful symbol of unity and commitment. As you prepare to embark on this new chapter in your life, take a moment to reflect on the symbolism of the knot and remember that you are creating a bond that will last a lifetime.


Is it tieing or tying the knot?

When it comes to the common phrase used to describe getting married, the correct expression to use is “tie the knot.” While “tie” and “tieing” might seem like a plausible alternative, these spellings are technically incorrect. “Tie the knot” has become a beloved idiom referring to two people joining together in matrimony. The phrase is thought to have originated from ancient Babylonian marriage rituals in which brides had strings tied around their necks to symbolize their union with their new husbands. This practice has been carried on throughout history and is still used in many cultures today.

Common misspellings of “tie the knot” can often occur in written communication, such as when typing up wedding invitations or composing an email. However, it’s important to remember that “tieing the knot” or “tieing the not,” for example, are incorrect spelling variations of the phrase. It’s always best to use the correct spelling, “tying the knot,” in order to avoid confusion or misunderstandings.

It’s also worth noting that in some regional dialects or accents, words might be pronounced slightly differently than standard English. For example, in some areas of the Southern United States, the phrase “tying the knot” might be pronounced more like “tah-ing the not.” However, even with these variations, the correct written spelling remains “tying the knot.”

If you’re writing about marriage or talking about it conversationally, be sure to use the correct phrase “tying the knot,” and avoid any incorrect variations like “tieing the knot” or “tieing the not.”

What does it mean when someone says the couple are tying knot?

When someone says that a couple is tying the knot, it essentially means that the two individuals are getting married and starting a new chapter of their lives together. This phrase is often used informally to indicate that a wedding is taking place between two people, and it is a common way of referring to the marriage ceremony. The metaphorical meaning of tying the knot can be traced back to various historical and cultural practices, where knots were seen as symbols of unity, strength, and binding commitment.

The tying of knots is also a symbol of the unbreakable bond between two people, and it signifies the start of a new journey for the couple. The phrase “tying the knot” is likely derived from the nautical practice of tying a knot as a way of securing a ship’s ropes or rigging, ensuring that the vessel remains safe and secure. Similarly, when used in the context of marriage, the phrase indicates that the two people are creating a secure bond that will hold them together as they navigate through the ups and downs of life.

While the phrase is usually used to describe heterosexual couples, it can be applied to any kind of relationship, including same-sex marriages. Regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the couple involved, tying the knot carries the same symbolic meaning and represents the strong commitment that two people make to each other when they decide to get married.

When someone says that a couple is tying the knot, they are essentially indicating that a marriage ceremony is taking place, and the two individuals are committing to each other for life. The phrase “tying the knot” has a rich symbolic history, and it represents the unbreakable bond that two people share when they get married, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

Is Tying the knot pagan?

Handfasting, also known as “tying the knot,” is an ancient Celtic ritual in which the hands of a couple are bound together with ribbons, cords, or other materials to symbolize the binding of two lives. Although handfasting is often associated with pagan and Wiccan ceremonies, it has a rich history that transcends any particular religion or belief system.

In ancient Celtic times, handfasting was a common practice that often took on a secular or non-religious tone, functioning as a pledge of mutual commitment and devotion between two people. The tradition was seen as an agreement between partners, rather than a religious sacrament, and could often last for a predetermined amount of time. Some handfasting ceremonies were conducted in secret, without the knowledge or approval of the larger community.

Handfasting has endured as a meaningful ceremony for many modern couples, regardless of their religious or spiritual preferences. For Wiccans and Pagans, handfasting is commonly used as a way to incorporate their beliefs and practices into their wedding ceremony. In this context, the handfasting may include additional elements such as prayers, blessings, or spells that are significant to the couple and their shared spiritual beliefs.

However, handfasting is not exclusive to Wiccans or Pagans; it is a flexible and inclusive ceremony that can be adapted to suit the needs and preferences of any couple. Some couples choose to include handfasting as part of a non-religious or secular ceremony, as a way to symbolize their commitment to each other. Additionally, some Christian denominations have incorporated handfasting into larger wedding ceremonies as a way to pay homage to the rich history and traditions of the church.

Tying the knot or handfasting is not exclusively pagan. Although it is often seen as a Wiccan or Pagan tradition, it is a flexible and adaptable ceremony that can be incorporated into weddings of many different spiritual traditions or personal beliefs. Its long history as a non-denominational rite of mutual commitment and devotion makes it uniquely suited to represent the love and partnership of any couple.