A wedding in Ireland - Eric Kelley

Wedding traditions in Ireland

A wedding in Ireland - Eric Kelley

Marriage in Ireland has its share of traditions and other customs. Whether it is a religious or atheist marriage, the event is always a real celebration, to be celebrated in the rules of the art! So here is without delay, a small glimpse of the habits of the Irish when they get married!

The traditions of an Irish wedding

The dress: white… or blue?

Certainly, it is more than common today to marry in white for the bride. A true symbol of virginity, it is part of today’s customs.

But it was not always so in Ireland. That’s why Irish women used to wear blue dresses! This tone symbolized innocence and purity, and of course white was out of the question!

The ring: a Claddagh ring of course!

At a wedding, it is impossible to forget to go through the ring search box! Wearing a ring is indeed a necessary step to seal a union! And what could be better than wearing a typically Irish wedding ring?

The Claddagh ring is therefore the perfect wedding ring to celebrate a marriage. It is a ring made in Ireland, whose origins are said to go back more than 300 years! Legend has it that a couple living near Galway were separated when the man was enslaved by a Turkish goldsmith. The goldsmith would then have worked for him for many years, before being able to join his beloved. On his return, he would have offered her a ring that he himself would have made: the Claddagh ring.

This wedding ring is in the form of two arms holding a crowned heart.

However, be careful how it is worn! If the crown is worn on the right hand with the crown facing outwards, you are telling the chosen one in your heart that love is possible. And when you wear the ring in your left hand with the crown facing outwards, your two hearts have become inseparable (synonymous with marriage).

Ties around the hands to symbolize the fusion of hearts

Among other Irish traditions, it is common to see couples knotting their hands together in front of the altar. To do this, the newlyweds use a thin cord, which they wrap around their hands and wrists, so that they are completely tied to each other.

A way to symbolize their union and commitment. Rather romantic, don’t you think?

The possibility for women to propose: every leap year!

Among the other traditions, there is a rather amusing one. It is said that women are allowed to propose marriage every 4 years on leap years!

So, every 29th of February, many Irish men can potentially be proposed to by their beloved!

The origin of this tradition would go back to Saint Brigitte, the patron saint of the Irish. She is said to have asked St. Patrick for exceptional permission to allow impatient women to propose themselves.

Saint Patrick would have answered yes, provided that it only takes place every 7 years! Saint Brigitte replied that the periodicity was too long, and managed to negotiate 4 years, relying on leap years. This is how this tradition would have been born!

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