Irish Wedding Folklore

Folklore has been defined as the practice of people to verbally convey the traditional beliefs commonly held so that they may pass from one generation to another. Irish folklore portrays the rich culture and traditions of Ireland and continues to be handed on through oral interpretations. The following portents and omens derive from folklore.

The couple that marries during the harvest time will spend their entire lives together gathering.

A male must be the first to wish joy and happiness to a bride on her wedding day.

After the ceremony, the wedding party must take the longest route home from the Church. In addition, this route cannot be the same one that was taken on the way to the Church.

After the marriage ceremony, if the bridegroom’s mother breaks a piece of wedding cake over the head of the bride as she enters her new home, they will always be close friends.

The couple should have a tiered wedding cake. The top tier is supposed to be an Irish whiskey cake. Instead of eating the cake at the wedding, the couple must save it to be eaten at the christening of their first-born.

Giving the bride and groom a bell for a gift helps to ensure a harmonious life together.

A wedding coin given to the bride from the groom after rings are exchanged secures a life of prosperity.

A special handkerchief, carried by the bride on her wedding day, is later used to wipe her first-born’s brow at the baptism. Kept in a safe place, the hanky will be used again on that child’s wedding day.

The bride and groom each consume three mouthfuls of a salt and oatmeal combination at the start of the wedding reception to ward off evil spirits.

A groom may give his bride a bracelet woven of human hair. As she wears this gift, she is joined to her groom forever.

For a life of happiness and contentment, a bride and groom may not wash hands together at the same sink.

A very special ring is the Claddagh wedding ring. Beautiful in design and rich in tradition, it’s motto is “Let love and friendship reign.” The ring contains a heart that is held by two hands. The heart is topped with a crown. The two hands symbolize faith, the crown represents honor and the heart signifies love. Before a woman is married or engaged, the ring is worn on her right hand with the heart facing away from her, signifying that she is single. An engaged woman wears the ring on her right hand, as well, but with the heart facing inward. A bride wears her Claddagh ring on her left hand to show she is married.

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