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Luck of the Irish on Your Wedding Day

16. November 2009 by Michelle 0 Comments

Tradition is very important to the Irish and many modern weddings still follow ancient wedding customs. Here are some things to know about Irish wedding traditions.


First comes the proposal and it may sound different than the typical asking for your hand in marriage. Instead, an Irish groom is known to ask his future bride, “Would you like to hang your washing next to mine?” or “Would you like to be buried with my people?”


Once this interesting proposal is accepted, choosing the date of the big day is suggested by many classic Irish wedding poems. For example, if you “Marry in the month of May, you will surely rue the day”. However, if you “Marry in September’s shine, your living will be rich and fine.” There are sayings for every month, as well as every day of the week, which goes, “Monday for health, Tuesday for wealth, Wednesday the best day of all, Thursday for losses, Friday for crosses, and Saturday no day at all.”


The Irish wedding ring, called the Claddaugh Ring, has become very popular all over the world, not just as an engagement or wedding ring, but a popular accessory for women everywhere. The hands are for friendship, the crown for loyalty, and the heart for love. It has been said that when the ring is worn facing out, the lady is uncommitted, and when the ring is pointing in, the lady is taken. Also, it can be bad luck to purchase the ring for yourself; it should only be received or given as a gift.


An ancient Celtic tradition of "handfasting" was a type of trial marriage that would last one year and a day. If at that time the couple decided they were not a perfect match, they could separate with no commitments. This custom is seen today by ribbons tied in knots binding the hands of the bride and groom together, which may be the origin of the term “tying the knot”.


Irish food and drink is abundant at weddings, with the wedding cake consisting of a fruitcake type recipe. The traditional drink of choice is mead, which is a kind of wine made with honey. It was thought that mead would improve virility in men and fertility in women. Irish history tells how the bride and groom would consume lots of honey flavored mead at the celebration, then the groom would hide the bride until the next full moon, hoping she would become pregnant in that time, hence the term “honeymoon”.


The Irish have many more interesting and romantic wedding traditions that couples worldwide have made more popular. If an Irishman sweeps you off your feet, you could plan your very own traditional Irish wedding. Slainte!