THE history of the sand ceremony is largely attributed to the Hawaiians who have integrated the practice into their marriage ceremonies for years. Sand is often used to represent the passing of time and the journey of life and therefore it was thought fitting to use sand to symbolize the joining of two lives together.
So what is a Sand Ceremony anyway? The Sand Ceremony also known as The Unity Sand Ceremony represents the blending of the individual lives of the bride and groom into one. It is similar to the Unity Candle Ceremony which is traditional in many weddings. The Unity Candle is where two candles are used to light one main candle. With the sand ceremony, two separate containers of differently coloured sand are poured into one main container. The beauty of the sand ceremony is the elegant symbolism that is immediately identifiable - the different colours, of course, represent the individual lives of the bride and groom.
The layers of colour show that both bride and groom have retained their unique identities and personalities. Yet, looking closer, it is virtually impossible to define the exact point where one layer ends and the next begins. The grains of sand can never be separated! This is a strong and beautiful representation of the "two becoming one" concept. Some couples also choose to leave a bit of sand in their individual pouring containers to verify that although they are becoming one as a couple, they are still individuals with independent thought.
Some brides and grooms prefer the sand ceremony to the unity candle ceremony, since sand is everlasting as opposed to candles, which melts away after time, others for the mere fact that your unity container can be kept as a wonderful wedding keepsake long after the ceremony is gone.
There are several variations of the Sand Ceremony. Here are three examples:
A religious variation: the central vase is one third filled with white sand before the ceremony. This represents God as the foundation for a happy marriage.
A parents’ variation: Each sets of parents has a vase with different coloured sand. The parents take turns in pouring their sand into the central vase before the couple, creating a layered effect. This symbolizes their support for the couple in marriage.
A children’s variation: is perfect if the couple have children together already, or have children from a previous relationship. Each child has a small vase with coloured or white sand, and they pour this into the central vase just before the couple finishes pouring in their sand. This provides a layer where the couple and children’s sands are mixed. The children can then pour the rest of their sand on top of the couple’s sand. This symbolizes that each is committed to functioning as one family unit. Children especially love the interactive nature of the ceremony.
There is no hard and fast rule when choosing what you want for your sand ceremony. You can choose one or a combination of ceremonies to fit your taste. Remember this is your wedding and it can be as unique, contemporary or traditional, as you want it to be.
Marriage & Bliss Issue 8