Irish Wedding Traditions
Many nationalities have their own wedding traditions. The people of Ireland have
their own distinct traditions that make it easy to distinguish an Irish wedding from weddings of other cultures.
The traditions include Claddagh rings, superstitions, a special toast, as well as kilts and bagpipes.
The Claddagh ring has a special meaning in a traditional Irish wedding. The Claddagh ring is a traditional ring
that looks like two hands holding a heart that is adorned with a crown.
Tradition holds that Claddagh rings be passed down from mother to daughter.
As these Irish wedding rings are meant to be passed down for generations, it is not considered proper to buy a
Claddagh ring for yourself. Yet another tradition involving the Claddagh ring relates to how it is worn. An
engaged or married woman or man would wear the ring with the tips of the crown facing towards their
fingertips. In this position the ring is considered to be turned inward and symbolizes that the heart of the
person wearing the ring is taken. A man or woman who is not involved in a romantic relationship would wear the
ring with the tips of the crown facing towards their wrist. This outward position of the ring symbolizes that
the person wearing the ring is reaching out for companionship.
Traditional Irish weddings also adhere to several unusual superstitions in an attempt to ward off bad luck. A
rain or overcast day might be cause for concern at a traditional Irish wedding. This is because one of the strange
superstitions is that the sun must shine directly on the bride to ensure that the couple will be blessed with good
luck. Birds also factor into some of the traditional Irish superstitions. Hearing a cuckoo bird or seeing three
magpies are also considered to be signs of luck for the couple. Yet another final superstition relates to offering
well wishes to the bride. At a traditional Irish wedding it is considered bad luck for a woman to be the first one
to congratulate the bride and wish her well. For this reason a close friend or relative of the groom will also take
it upon himself to ensure that he is the first to congratulate the bride.
A traditional Irish wedding usually concludes with a toast that has been recited for many
years. At the end of the reception the guests will gather around the couple for the final toast. The couple will
begin the toast by saying, "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." The guests then respond to the toast with the following answer: "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." "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." The guests respond: "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." Of course, no traditional Irish wedding complete without the presence of bagpipes and kilts.
It is customary for friends and family members to bring along their bagpipes and pipe the couple into the mass
and into the reception. They may also continue to charm the guests with an assortment of bagpipe tunes suitable for
dancing. Not only do friends and family members enjoy performing for the couple and the other guests but they also
enjoy taking the opportunity to dress in traditional kilts for the occasion. The look and sound of the bagpipers
creates the feel of a truly traditional Irish wedding. A traditional Irish wedding is a festive occasion filled
with good friends, food and music. In addition to these traditional elements the Irish people also have traditions
regarding the Claddagh ring and standardized toasts that are used to wish the new couple well. Superstitions also
play a role in a traditional Irish wedding. Many of the traditional superstitions relate to objects or occurrences
that are thought to bring the couple good luck.
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