The Claddagh Ring is an Irish ring that can either be given as token of love or worn as a wedding ring. It is heart held by two hands with the heart topped with a crown. The hands represent faith, the crown symbolizes honor, and the heart signifies love. The motto of the ring is: “Let love and friendship reign”. A single Irish woman will wear the Claddagh Ring on her right hand with the heart facing outward toward the end of her finger signifying she is free to see whomever she desires. If the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart facing inward toward the woman’s knuckle, then she is engaged to be married. Lastly, if the ring is worn on the left hand of the woman, it signifies that she is married.
One Irish tradition that takes place on the actual wedding day is the tradition that the couple walk to the church together before exchanging their wedding vows. As the couple walks down the street to the chapel, guests would not only throw rice to bless the marriage, but larger items such as pots and pans!
A traditional Irish bride wears a blue wedding dress, instead of the typical white gown. The blue symbolized purity in ancient times and was this way until the year 1499 when the white wedding dress began to also symbolize purity and virginity. The English lavender color which symbolizes love, loyalty, devotion and even luck is often mixed with the bride’s wedding bouquet to help bring happiness and a forever lasting union between the couple.
Another tradition is for the bride to wear her hair in a braid for the wedding. The braided hair is an ancient symbol of feminine power and luck. To set a wedding date on St. Patrick’s Day is also a symbol of luck and considered to be the luckiest wedding anniversary date in Ireland.
One final tradition is the Irish honeymoon. In Irish the word “honeymoon” is “mi na meala” which can be translated to “the month of honey”. Yup, that’s right! The Irish newlyweds take an entire month to spend together drinking honeyed wine, in a secluded destination away from their family so that they could not try to separate them. This originated from those couples who had eloped without telling their families. It was believed that after a month had passed the bride would have become pregnant and the family would therefore accept the marriage and desire for her to remain with her new husband.
So for those of you with a little bit of Irish blood in you, maybe try to incorporate some of these fun Irish traditions into your wedding day celebration or even plan a St. Patrick’s Day wedding to bring you some extra luck!