Legend has it there’s an intangible string of fate that binds two people destined to be together. Those connected are bound regardless of time, place or circumstance. Nothing can break the invisible thread between two people who are meant to be together.
Red. The color red is strongly tied to attraction and desire. It is also the color of the string of fate that binds two soul mates.
Origins. The red string of fate is derived from an ancient East Asian belief. According to this myth, the Gods tie a red string around the ankles of those that are destined to meet each other or help each other in a certain way.
Like a soulmate? The concept is similar to the Western concept of a “soulmate” or a “twin flame.” What is different is that this proverb focuses more on the concept of being “bound” to someone rather than finding your other half.
The story. Like many old legends, the story behind the red string is somewhat problematic. It is said that walking home one night, a little boy saw an old man reading a book. He asked him what he was reading. The old man said it was a book of marriages, and told the young boy he was destined to marry one girl. When he showed the little boy the girl he was to marry, though….
Trouble. The boy didn’t like the idea because he didn’t want to get married. He threw a rock at her and ran away as fast as he could. Years later, a marriage was arranged between the boy and one of the most beautiful girls in the village. But, when he unveiled her he noticed…
Scarred. His wife-to-be had a small scar over her eyebrow. When he asked her about it, she told him that a boy had thrown a rock at her as a child. Thus proving their fateful union…
What happens when it stretches and tangles? At the crux of this proverb is submitting to a higher power. Destiny will take its course, and in time all will fall into place. It is important not to fight the red thread.
Still takes work. Even if you find the person on the other end of the fateful red string, that doesn’t mean staying together will be easy. The proverb is meant to instill loyalty, devotion, and compassion. The string is also there to make sure lovers remain faithful to one another.
Infinite. No matter how near or far you are from the person, the thread remains. There will be times when mentally or physically, you feel distant from the person, but that doesn’t affect the thread that binds you two together.
In us all along. “The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind I was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.” — Rumi
In the hands of the Gods. According to Chinese legend, the deity in charge of the “Red string of Fate” is believed to be Yuè Xià Lǎo the old lunar matchmaker god. Yuè Xià Lǎo is also in charge of marriages.
Pinky Promise? In Japanese culture it is said the red string is tied around the pink finger. Hence the phrase “pinky swear.” Originally it indicated that the person who broke their promise had to cut off their pinky finger!
Not just lovers. Caroline Highland of Thought Catalog writes, “The red threads don’t wind their way around our ankles as we walk, don’t catch on us as we brush past things—the Chinese believe that they emanate from us from birth, from the moment we enter the world. As we age, with each passing year, the threads grow tighter, bringing us close to the people whose lives are destined to intertwine with ours in some way.”
Freeing? The same writer interprets the red thread as liberating. “How much easier it feels to fling ourselves out into the unknown, into a new place or stage of our lives, knowing those red threads are there, winding out into the future as they always have been, holding onto souls that will be waiting to catch us, teach us, touch us, change us.”
Unbreakable. According to Wikipedia, “The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break.”