If you're getting married and want to honor your Irish roots, consider some of these old Irish wedding traditions. These are just a few of the many Irish wedding customs from which you can choose for your own celebration.
The Claddagh ring is the traditional Irish wedding ring which is often handed down to the bride from her mother. The Claddagh ring is deisgned with two hands holding a crown topped heart. These are the symbols of love (the heart), loyalty (the crown) and friendship (the hands). This ring was named after the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, where it was first created.
The way a woman wears the ring signifies her marital status. A single woman will wear the ring on her right hand with the heart facing outwards. This means her heart is open. Once she becomes engaged, she wears the ring on her right hand, with the heart facing inwards. When she is married the ring is moved to her left hand.
Prior to the wedding ceremony, the couple used to walk together to the church. As they walked through the streets of town, onlookers threw rice to bless the marriage. They also threw coins for the poor children. Often times, they even threw pots and pans.
This Celtic ceremony of unity is an ancient custom that was practiced in Ireland prior to the evolution of Christianity. For the ceremony the couple crosses their wrists and holds hands, right hand in right hand, and left hand in left hand. Then someone ties ribbon around the wrists in the pattern of a figure eight, which is meant to symbolize infinity.
One of many Irish wedding superstitions is the notion that it is bad luck for a bride to ever take both feet off of the floor when dancing. It is said that the fairies, who love things of beauty, are especially fond of brides. A bride with both feet off of the floor is vulnerable to being whisked away by these fairies.
The wedding couple invites their guests to share in a glass of traditional Irish mead. The guests gather around the bride and groom, who recite this Irish toast:
"Friends and relatives, so fond and dear,
'tis our greatest pleasure to have you here.
When many years this day has passed,
Fondest memories will always last.
So we drink a cup of Irish mead
And ask God's blessing in your hour of need."
In return the guests follow with a toast of their own:
"On this special day, our wish to you,
The goodness of the old, the best of the new.
God bless you both who drink this mead,
May it always fill your every need."
If you are interested in having a completely Irish wedding, I strongly suggest you visit the link below to read Bridget Haggerty's writings on the topic of Irish weddings.
I was married to my first (late) husband with a claddaugh. I still have it.
Interesting, I think that pots and pan throwing was practice for future fights. lol!
I've never been to an Irish wedding, but it sounds beautiful. Thanks for a very interesting article.
I love claddaugh rings. Good list!
select one here...