IRISH WEDDINGS TRADITIONS
Centuries ago, before Christianity in Pagan times couples practiced what was known as hand-fasting. This ritual was most probably carried over this period and represents the Celtic ceremony of unity.
During the ritual, the couples hold hands with their wrists crossed. Ribbon or cord is then wrapped around the wrists in a figure of eight to represent infinity. This is most probably where the saying “‘tying the knot” originated from.In some ancient Irish sites there are stones with a central whole carved through them which we are led to believe couples placed their hands through during the ceremony.
This has become very popular with none religious services and very popular where the children of the couple become part of the ceremony.
Since the birth of Christianity weddings that usually take place in a Church use two candles burning separately during the ceremony which are then used to light one taller candle known as the Unity candle after the sacrament of marriage takes place. This is to signify two people becoming one.This tradition is still very popular.
Tne tradition we seem to have lost is the bride would have an old Irish penny in her shoe, This was meant to signify she would always have money during her life and want for nothing. This tradition seems to have disappeared nowadays.In many irish wedding silver coins are passed to one another during the service to signify they give all that they have to one another. This is a tradition is not as popular as it once was.
The Weddings Rings
One of the most significant Irish traditions was the Claddagh ring that can be used as a wedding band. This ring represents two hands holding a crowned heart and were usually handed down through generations of mothers to their daughters The Claddagh rings were made of gold although nowadays they have become more sophisticated with the heart being made of a precious gem such as an Emerald to represent the Emerald Isle or diamond.This is more popular with 2nd and third generation couples of Irish decent,than first generation Irish couples.
The ceremony of the bride and groom leaving the Church traditionally to the sound of pipes which was also a lovely tradition. This often still lives on today at some weddings.
Blessings & toasts for an Irish Weddings.
As the guests congratulate the happy couple the first person to offer their congratulations to the bride must be a man. It’s very unlucky for a woman to do this, so traditionally a male member of the groom’s family will be the first to congratulate the bride and welcome her to the family.I have been organising weddings in Ireland for twenty years and have never heard of this.
The Traditional Irish Wedding Cake
A traditional Irish cake would have at least two tiers, the first would be a rich fruit cake and the smaller would be soaked in good Irish whiskey and stored away to be used as a christening cake for the first-born. Every guest was given a slice of cake to eat or in some cases taken away by unmarried maidens to place under their pillow that night in the hope that they would dream of their future husband! I would
suggest changing this to in the hope they would dream of their future Partner husband or wife. Nowadays a lot of couples seem to have replaced the fruit cake with a chocolate biscuit cake! I must say I love more layered gateau style cakes with fresh fruit and soft italian meringue icing.
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