Hand Washing in the Native American Tradition
The Native American culture also looks at the element of water as a symbol for purification and cleansing. When the couples wash their hands during their wedding ceremony they are washing away past evils and memories of past loves. (I would be very careful bringing that up past loves during a wedding!)
Hand Washing Unity Ceremony Script 1
The bride and groom approach a table with a glass bowl of water and two hand towels.
Bride and Groom, today, in front of your family and friends, you start your life together anew as a married couple. As with any new endeavor, it is best to start with a clean slate, putting problems big and small behind you. You come acknowledging that the person you have chosen is not perfect, yet fits with you in a way no other person can. Whatever difficulties you may have experienced, today you have decided that your love is bigger than any of them and you have chosen a life together. Water brings forgiveness and we all need forgiveness. We need to forgive others and we need to forgive ourselves. As you wash your hands in this bowl of water, forgive yourself and each other for any pain in the past. Allow yourself to be forgiven for your human imperfections. Allowing yourselves to have your hands dried by each other signifies
your vulnerability. And we have to be vulnerable, as it breaks through isolation and in our own vulnerability, we become more caring and understanding of our mate. In a loving and compassionate marriage, to achieve the greatest intimacy, you must have the courage to be open and vulnerable to each other.
As you dry one another’s hands, may you begin your lives together with grace and compassion.
Hand Washing Unity Ceremony Script 2
The handwashing ceremony is a ritual cleansing on your wedding day honoring your transition into a married couple. Together you wash your hands in a glass bowl. As you wash your hands, you are washing away your past failures, relationships and mistakes, giving you a clean fresh start into your marriage. It is a symbolic spiritual purification and bringing your lives and souls into balance. The washing of your hands most importantly represents a complete and utter forgiveness of yourselves. Recognizing that all you have gone and grown through up to this moment has been necessary for you to stand here with the depth, capacity, abilities, and compassion to love one another as deeply as you do. Therefore from this day forward your lives together are anew and nothing in your past can or will be held against you.
Hand Washing Unity Ceremony Script 3
The washing of hands is an old ritual used to purify the couple, to help balance and removing anything from their past they don’t want in this relationship. The washing of your hands most importantly represents a complete and utter forgiveness of yourselves and those who have hurt you. Recognizing that all you have gone through and experienced brought you to this moment.
As you wash your hands you let it go and when you dry your hands, it is gone. The past must stay in the past and you now move on to create a new future together. From this day forward your lives together are anew. Do not speak of the past, it has no hold over you. What you do now is what is important, for it is not the words that you speak that unite you, but the actions that define you and will keep you together.
The couple now washes and dries their hands, having members of the wedding party help, if they like.
I do not claim to be the original author of this script. I am sharing it like this to make it easier for anyone to use.