The Claddagh is an Irish symbol for love (heart), loyalty (crown) and friendship (hands). Claddagh rings are traditionally passed down through generations of female family members. A single lady would wear it on her right hand with the point of the heart towards her fingertips. Once she is in a relationship, she flips the ring so the point is toward her wrist. When she’s engaged, she moves the ring to her left hand with the point towards her fingertips. Once she is married the point is again flipped toward the wrist.
Horseshoes are historically known for their good luck. Irish brides carry them down the isle and then use them as a fixture over a door in the couple’s home for continuing good fortune. Make sure the horseshoe is carried upright as a “U”, if it’s turns upside down, story goes the luck may run out!
Champagne is our go to toast beverage today, but in Ireland there was a time champagne was in short supply, so they used Poteen or Mead to toast the happy couple. Poteen is a very strong Whiskey made from potatoes. Mead is an Anglo-Saxon drink originally made by Monks and consists of white wine mixed with honey and herbs. Mead supposedly possessed fertility powers, so the bride and groom were to drink mead for one full moon after their wedding – giving us the word “honeymoon”.
A familiar Irish toast:
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again my friend
May God hold you in the palm of his hand
A coin or a “sixpence” is given to the bride for good luck and safety on the wedding day. It could also be from the groom to show his support for her. Historically, a lord gave his lady the coin for her to place in her shoe.
The Emerald Isle gives us visions of green, but blue is actually supposed to bring the bride good luck on her wedding day! So don’t forget that “something blue” along with your old, new and borrowed.
Braids in the hair is an ancient Irish symbol of power and luck.
Irish brides tend to use wildflowers either in their bouquets or wreaths for their hair.
Generally passed through the generations, the bride would carry a hanky on her wedding day and save it to later be used as a christening bonnet for her first born. They are usually made from linen or lace.
Bells are believed to ward off evil spirits from the pending marriage.
When leaving the church in ancient times, an old shoe was tossed over the head of the Bride for luck – Just be sure to duck!
A long held Irish tradition of literally “tying the knot”. To read more about handfasting, check out my previous blog CLICK HERE
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