>> I gather that handfasting, in the days of yore, was a sort of "temporary"
>> marriage. Often, in remote places in the highlands, there wouldn't be a
>> the handfasting was supposed to be as legal as a marriage, but lasted only
>> a year and a day which was supposed to give ample time to find the
>> wanted priest.
Marion Gunn wrote:
> A romantic thought, Fiona, but not part of any Gaelic tradition I know! The
> year and a day marriage was, I think, more along the lines of: if she
> hasn't managed to conceive inside a year, send her straight back to
a Mharion, Fhiona agus a h-uile duine,
O chionn 's gu bheil mi direach air leughadh "Sex and Marraige in Ancient
Ireland" le Padraig Powers, agus am pairt Lughnasa aig "The Silver Bough",
tha beagan fiosrachadh agamsa air a' chuspair seo:
I've just finished reading Patrick Power's "Sex and Marraige in Ancient
Ireland" and the Lammas part of "The Silver Bough" I thought I would pass on
a little additional information:
Whereas barreness on either a woman or man's part was grounds for divorce
under brehon law (the ancient native Gaelic law system which arose from
pre-Christian sources), this was not what was referred to by the
At Lamas time, a great fair was held as a memorial to Lugh's foster mother. A
part of this fair was customarily a marraige market, in which parents would
negotiate trial marraiges between their children, which would require an
additional confirmation after a year and a day in order to become permanent.
If, after the time had ended, the couple did not wish to stay together, they
stood at the center of the rath, back to back, one facing North and the other
South. They walked out of the circle as single people, free to marry again.
> However, the original question put to us by
> Gina sounded more like marriage vows to me.
I think you're quite right, Marion. What is referred to as handfasting by
modern practitioners of pre-Christian tradition is really no different from
our modern concept of marraige. The concept of a handfasting lasting more
than one year, let alone more than one lifetime, would have been quite
foreign to our ancestors.
Explaining to a non-Wiccan what a handfasting is requires both historical and
current usage information, and can wind up being quite confusing.
Gabhaibh mo leisgeul gu bheil a' chuid as motha de'n teachdaireachd seo 'sa
Bheurla, ach tha mi gle thrang aig an oifis, agus tha e fhathast nas fhasa
dhomh a sgriobhadh mar sin, tha mise duilich a radh.
Sorry the majority of this messages is in English. I'm frightfully busy at
the office and it's still easier for me to write in English, I'm sorry to