Someone at my chapter told me that there are three OA handclasps — one for each honor. Is that correct?

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No, that is incorrect. It is a popular misconception, though.

There is one Order of the Arrow handclasp that is used in the Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies. It is as described in the Order of the Arrow handbook that you received when you were inducted. In the Brotherhood ceremony, just as he does in the Ordeal, Allowat Sakima refers to the “handclasp of the Order” when he congratulates the Brotherhood candidates, not as something separate for Brotherhood.

Persons who are Vigil know what does or does not exist in the Vigil ceremony and that should not be discussed or speculated upon at an event where persons who are not Vigil are present. The Guide to Inductions, available at, gives as principle #9, “symbolic progression”. It says, “No symbol or symbolic procedure should be mentioned or used unless and until it is called for in the authorized ceremonies.” (Chap 1, pg 8). No person who is not Vigil should be made aware of whether or not a Vigil handclasp exists (with the usual exceptions for a concerned parent, etc).

Posted in: Ceremonies