In old Ireland, marriages were often arranged by the head of the house or a male member of the family. A dowry refers to an agreement of a fortune such as land, farm animals or money, for accepting one's daughter for marriage. The marriages were arranged and often the bride would not meet her husband to be until they were standing at the alter. The dowry was the most important part of the wedding and a great dowry signaled a great catch. Many men in families would travel to other countries in search of work to save enough money to raise a good dowry for their daughters, so they could marry into a good family. Thankfully, this tradition is no longer important when planning a wedding in Ireland.
Hand fasting - Tying the Knot
The phrase “Tying the Knot” is widely used all over the world. This phrase came from the Celtic era from a beautiful tradition. The couple would tie a knot around both there hands to signify there intention to get married. Hand fasting was an engagement and a commitment to your partner.
Irish dancing has always been a huge part of Irish culture. Traditionally, Irish weddings would have Irish music and Irish dancers would perform for wedding guests. Nowadays, many Irish couples still hire out Irish dancers for their wedding day. A lovely tradition that has stood the test of time.
Cooking The Goose
Customarily, the grooms family would cook a Goose before the wedding. Once the Goose was cooked, the groom could not change his mind about getting married and must honour his commitment to marry. Today, the saying “eatin' the Goose” is often used in Dublin when celebrating a wedding.
The Penny For The Shoe
We have all heard the saying “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”, right? In Ireland the saying was “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a penny for her shoe”. A penny in the brides shoe was said to attract good fortune to the couple as they begin their journey as husband and wife.
Family members would insist that the bride and groom eat porridge with salt the morning of the wedding to ward of evil spirts. An old superstition that eating salt would keep evil from entering your home sparked the tradition. Today, this tradition is almost unheard of across Ireland.
Child Of Prague
This tradition has been passed down through the ages and is still a hugely popular among Irish Catholics who marry in a Church. A statue called the Child Of Prague is left outside the brides door the night before the wedding. Leaving the statue outside is said to bring sunshine to the couple on their wedding day. A tradition that stemmed from the notoriously rainy weather that gives Ireland its green fields & it's nickname “ The Emerald Isle”, and the believe that the Child of Prague had the power to bring sunshine.
Blue Wedding Dress
The colour blue was once the colour that symbolised purity and was worn by Irish brides on her big day. Nowadays, Irish brides tend to opt for the white wedding dress which is now seen as the colour of purity.
The Magic Handkerchief
A handkerchief was passed down from mother to daughter on the wedding day. A bride with a handkerchief with her was said to bless the couple with children and was a symbol of fertility. The handkerchief was usually wrapped around a bouquet of flowers or tucked neatly in the centre of the bouquet. The bride kept the handkerchief and passed it on to her daughter on her wedding day.
Locking the church door
It is believed that once the couple had entered the church to say their vows, the church doors were locked to keep the groom from leaving if he got cold feet.
The Claddagh ring
Traditionally, the Claddagh ring is gifted from a mother to a daughter in her teens. The wearer can let the world know that she is single, engaged or married by how she is wearing the ring. Once married, the ring is moved to the left hand with the heart faced inwards letting the world know that she is a married woman. This tradition has continued down through the generations and is still seen in Ireland.
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