Sanctions, if a Priest was caught, were severe. The last of the Penal Laws was not repealed in Ireland until Given this background and the unique identity of the native Irish people who were forced to practice their religion 'underground', it is not surprising that an Irish Wedding has a particular identity all of its own and has a number of specific traditions associated with it.
In Ireland of centuries ago the most popular day to be married was a Sunday. This made sense as it was the day when the working week was done and people were free to attend the simple marriage ceremonies that were available at the time. As the decades and years rolled by and as the Catholic religion developed and reasserted itself in Ireland, the choice of Sunday became frowned upon as it was often seen as a mark of disrespect. Similarly, it became unusual for a couple to be wed in May as this was the traditional start of Summer and was marked by a Pagan feast: Bealtane.
In Ireland today most weddings, but by no means all, take place on a Saturday. They are often planned years in advance.
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This is usually to facilitate visitors to the reception who would otherwise be at their place of work. While it is not at all unusual to have a wedding during a weekday, it can often be inconvenient for guests. Weddings on a Sunday are rare. It is similar to an engagement, a time when both parties decide if they really wish to commit.
In Modern times the tradition occurs on the actual wedding day although in centuries past the ceremony acted as a kind of temporary marriage. Handfasting was actually a legitimate way for people to be married during the Middle Ages and only declined when laws were enforced making the act of marriage much more formal. Ireland was ruled by 'Brehon law' and handfasting was duly recognised as a proper form of marriage. This tradition is well recorded in Ireland and especially at Teltown in County Meath.
The Irish historian John O'Donovan wrote of the 'Teltown Marriages': A number of young men went into the hollow to the north side of the wall, and an equal number of marriageable young women to the south side of the wall which was so high as to prevent them from seeing the men; one of the women put her hand thro' the hole in the gate and a man took hold of it from the other side, being guided in his choice only by the appearance of the hand.
The two were thus joined hands by blind chance were obliged to live together for a year and a day, at the expiration of which time they appeared at the Rath of Telton and if they were not satisfied with each other they obtained a deed of separation, and were entitled to go to Laganeeny again to try their good fortune for the ensuing year.
In the Pagan and Wiccan traditions the handfasting ceremony may involve an arrangement of rocks, candles, crystals, a robe or ribbon, a broomstick, marriage documents, a silver box and other symbolic items. Who knows, maybe it will be possible to be married at the Rock of Cashel or the Hill of Tara - that really would be incredible.
The tradition of dowry-giving was very well established in rural Ireland and was a source of pride for the family of the Bride. Modernity has relegated this tradition to the history books but in rural areas it is still noted if a Bride brings 'any land' with her. Ireland - Ireland - Early Celtic Ireland: Politically, Ireland was organized into a number of petty kingdoms, or clans (tuatha), each of which was quite independent under its elected king. Groups of tuatha tended to combine, but the king who claimed overlordship in each group had a primacy of honour rather than of jurisdiction. Not until the 10th century ad was there a king of all Ireland. However, rural societies - including those that feature animal lover dating, given the farming backgrounds in the societies in question - have employed matchmakers for centuries. The tradition still thrives in farming communities such as those found in Ireland, where matchmaking skills are passed on from father to son or to daughter, and where.
Perhaps a hairdresser or make-up artist would be employed to help. Collection of the bride from her home in a fancy decorated limo is often greeted with car-horns and cheers from passers-by. With the Groom eagerly awaiting his fashionably late Bride at the Church her arrival is heralded with a suitable song or music. Presented to her husband-to-be by her father at the altar the nuptials may include the blessing of the wedding rings with the further symbolism of a few pieces of gold or silver also being blessed.
It is not at all unusual for the congregation to clap and even cheer once the magic words are uttered by the Priest: 'I now Pronounce you Man and Wife!
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Sometimes the wedded couple will depart for a public or private garden for some staged outdoor photos. The Botanic Gardens in Dublin are particularly popular for this although a lot of Hotels that specialize in weddings have their own formal garden for use by the newly married couple.
The wedding guests will have arrived at the Hotel by this time where they can partake of a beverage of their choice. It should be noted that not all wedding receptions are held in Hotels. Sometimes a Restaurant can be booked for the purpose and some other couples choose to have their wedding reception in their own home which, apart from the financial consideration, can greatly add to the intimacy and enjoyment of the event.
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Speeches by the Best Man, and often by the Bride and Groom too, take place after the main dining. Telegrams or Emails, or Twitter posts!
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Funny anecdotes told. A toast to the happy couple often marks the end of the wedding meal.
Music or entertainment is then provided and this can be anything from an unstoppable Auntie determined to sing her song, to a Professional singer or Cabaret act, or perhaps some Irish dancers. Usually a D. The following morning and having changed from her wedding dress into another carefully selected ensemble the Bride makes her departure with her new husband, often destined for some far flung corner of the globe.
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So that is how it done in modern times, but what about the older traditions of an Irish wedding? Read on! Of course in modern times this is often completed with Champagne but in the seventeenth century in Ireland this was in very short supply! For many Poteen was the drink of choice! Poteen is a very strong Whiskey made from potatoes. It was not uncommon for the flavour and recipe to vary from village to village and County to County depending on the type of potato that was refined and the skill of the person doing the refining.
It is now quite customary for a bottle of Champagne or similar to be saved from the wedding reception to be opened when a child is brought into the marriage. The tradition of 'wetting the baby's head' at a Christening means more than the application of water by the Priest!
It is a euphemism for celebrating the occasion with a drink. Mead is another alternative. Mead is an Anglo-Saxon drink originally made by Monks and consists of white wine mixed with honey and herbs. It became very popular in Ireland and is often served in modern times as a 'traditional' Irish wedding drink. The Mead was said to possess magical powers of fertility and thus it became customary for the Bride and Groom to drink the Mead for one full moon after their wedding, giving rise to the word 'honeymoon'.
By placing the horseshoe upright over a door or in a room the 'luck of the house' was kept intact.
The Greeks associated the horseshoe with the crescent moon and its symbolism of fertility. The tradition was popular throughout Ireland and England too with the readily available horseshoe being carried by the Bride as she walked down the aisle. It was then affixed securely by the Groom in the matrimonial home. Today, glass and ceramic horseshoes are symbolically used at Irish wedding ceremonies.
The hanky would be passed on from generation to generation to be re-used in a similar manner. Jump to navigation.
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