As a long-time wedding minister in Palm Springs, CA in the Coachella Valley, I have always been intrigued by the story of the naming of our Valley by its first occupants, the Cahuilla Indians. They called it “The Palm of God.”
Hands have always played an important role in the human imagination down through the ages. The hand denotes a pledge of faith, sincerity and justice and it is symbolic of support and strength, power, domination and protection. There is a world of meaning the hand has in both our spiritual and daily life; and it involves the brain and the soul. Hands make things, possess things, control things, comfort, promise, bless, heal, confer authority, show love and compassion. Hands are involved in our daily speech and actions in our cultures, religious traditions, hand signals and body language.
Recently, I have noticed a trend of how many brides and grooms are looking for an alternative unity ritual beyond the popular unity candle and sand ceremony. They are asking me for a ceremony involving their hands, and I have lots of beautiful choices for them: Hand Blessing; Hand Washing; Hand Fasting; Hand Binding; Hand Tying; Hand Clasping. The ceremonies may be similar in nature
with a little different wording , but all involve holding hands and that is always wonderful!
For example, the Hand Fasting or Hand Tying typically consist of tying the right hands of the couple to be married with ribbon(s), chord or sash, while they exchange their vows. At the recent Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London, William and Kate’s hands were bound together with a golden sash by the Archbishop of Canterbury as he proclaimed them to be joined as husband and wife. The colors selected by the couple for the cord, ribbons or sash for the Hand Fasting ceremony each have a significant meaning and are described by the officiant in this very personal ceremony. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like me to send you the thirteen color meanings.
Whether I see the special tenderness when couples first join hands in their ceremony, a small child holding a parent’s hand crossing the street, or seniors out for a walk, I am a great fan of hand-holding! No matter your hand-holding style, or how clammy your palms, we all know it feels good to fit your hand into your loved one’s. Why is it that when we are upset, stressed, or scared, we instinctively reach for our partner’s hand or reach out to comfort when our partner is upset? Megan Overdeep reported studies by psychologist, Dr. Jim Coan, saying that holding hands with a loved one is really good for your health. It reduces your brain’s stress response and it appears to make you less stressed.
I invite you to consider some quality hand-holding time. Just squeeze a little squeeze into your daily routine. Tip: My husband and I have been married a long time and we hold hands for a few seconds at dinnertime across the table. We look into each other’s eyes and silently send “I love you and I am grateful for our blessings.” We can do this anywhere and no one else knows our secret. You can hold hands in the car, at church, while watching TV, walking somewhere together, or when you are drifting off to sleep. It’s good for your relationship and good for your health!