Just like every community, Irish culture has its own traditions for uniting two people in matrimony. The wedding customs and traditions in Ireland are a combination of the old Celtic mythologies and Christianity, brought in by St. Patrick. In effect, both of these influences are significantly important in any marital relationship. As per Irish wedding traditions, young men and women are expected to stay sober and show great respect for each other and their families. To begin with, the reception day is known as Celt, which is looked forward to by everyone. In case you want to know more about marriage rituals in Ireland, read on.
Irish Wedding Customs
The Irish Claddagh Ring
The Irish wedding ring is called a Claddagh ring. The ring depicts a heart held by two hands, which is topped by a crown. The hands are a symbol of faith, while the crown symbolizes honor and the heart signifies love. The motto of the ring is 'Let love and friendship reign.' If it's worn by a woman on her right hand, with the heart facing outwards - towards the fingertips, it signifies that she is a single woman. If the ring is worn on the right hand, with the heart facing inwards - towards the knuckle, then it signifies that she is engaged. However, if the Claddagh ring is worn on the left hand, it means that the woman is married.
Wedding Day Traditions in Ireland
As per old Irish traditions, the wedding couple takes a walk to the church together, before exchanging their wedding vows. As the couple walks down the main street, onlookers throw rice and bless the marriage. At the same time, larger items, such as pots and pans, are thrown as well. Traditionally, the bride wears a blue wedding dress, rather than white. Blue symbolized purity in ancient times and it wasn’t until 1499 that a white wedding dress began to symbolize virginity and purity.
A traditional Irish bride often holds English lavender blooms, along with wedding flowers. English lavender blooms are an ancient symbol of love, loyalty, devotion and luck and ensure a happy and long-lasting union for the couple. Another tradition is that the bride usually braids her hair for the wedding day. Braided hair is an ancient symbol of feminine power and luck. Another symbol of luck is to be married on St. Patrick's Day, which is considered to be the luckiest wedding date in Ireland.
An Irish Honeymoon
In Irish, 'honeymoon' is translated as 'mi na meala', which means 'the month of honey.' As per an ancient custom, the newlyweds used to spend secluded a month together, drinking honeyed wine, in case their families tried to separate them. It held true primarily in the case when the couple has eloped. Nowadays, many couples follow a blend of ancient beliefs with modern customs; to create wedding traditions, which pay homage to the past and at the same time, remain in sync with the present.