Ireland is a country steeped in tradition, folklore and history, thus, writing down all of them would be nearly impossible. We created a list including some of their most well-known and interesting traditions just for you, read on and let us know which one you like best.
Traditionally the wedding band could be a Claddagh ring. Claddagh rings are well known among the Irish as a symbol of friendship, engagement and wedding. While being a symbol of friendship, they are mostly used as a symbol of love and marriage. The ring represents two hands holding a crowned heart, and in turn each of them holds its own meaning.
The crown represents loyalty
The heart represents love
The hands represent friendship
Furthermore, when being worn on the right hand with the heart facing out it means that the wearer's heart is free and looking for love, while when worn on with the heart facing toward the wearer it means they are in a relationship. Similarly, when being worn on the left hand with the heart facing toward the wearer it means two hearts have become one, "I give you my heart".
While it is not very common nowadays, Irish people used to be famous for their blessings and Sayings, a great example of a blessing is this:
"Wherever you go and whatever you do, may the luck of the Irish be there with you."
As we mentioned on our Halloween week, Halloween has its roots in Ireland, and therefore we couldn’t make a list without including a Halloween Tradition. One that caught my eye was regarding the famous Jack–O–Lantern!
Based on Irish folklore Jack was a lazy Blacksmith from Ireland, who made a deal with the Devil after trapping him with the use of a cross. The deal was that the Devil will not take Jack's soul when he dies in return for setting him free. Years paste by and the lazy Blacksmith died. His lazy habits and bad deeds he did while being alive, however, caught up to him prohibiting him from entering Heaven. After approaching the Devil, who refused to break his promise, the Devil threw him a never extinguishing flame straight from Hell, forcing Jack to carve a turnip into a lantern in hopes that he will find his way, in his eternal wandering on Earth.
Many years ago, before the introduction of the Christmas tree Irish houses were decorated with holly and ivy. The more the berries on the holly the better luck the New Year would bring! While most of the families have turned solely to the Christmas trees there are still families who put both up, with the Christmas tree as the main decoration. Another worth mentioning Christmas tradition is the placement of large candles in the front window of a house, symbolizing guidance for the Virgin Mary and Joseph before Christ's birth. Another tale the parents use to explain the purpose of the candle is to guide Santa to their house.
St Patrick, Ireland's Patron Saint holds great importance for the Irish people. St Patrick's Day, 17th of March is now one of the most infamous cultural events around the world, celebrated by million people in every corner of the world. Huge parades are held in both Ireland and the USA, with people in green flooding the streets.
Families would prepare their houses for a hundred-year-old religious ceremony executed by a local priest giving the family blessings. This preparation is known as "spring cleaning".
After the passing of a loved one, families organize a wake in the memory of the deceased. While death is a tragic event, a wake has a more positive tone with friends and family gathering and sharing funny stories and memories regarding the deceased. Moreover, the body of the deceased is kept in their house so people can come and say their goodbyes. Traditionally, they open a window in order to allow the spirit of the deceased to exit the house. The windows path shall not be blocked by anyone as they may cause the spirit to remain in the house and misfortune will come to the one who blocked the way. Two hours forward to opening the window, it is shut closed in belief that his will prevent the spirit to re-enter the house. Another tradition is related to the deceased gender. After washing the body and dressing it in white, a male is also being shaved, an action known as "laid out". Around the hands of the deceased rosary beads will then be wrapped along with a cross around the neck. During the time the body is in the house the candles found on the head and foot of the coffin remain lit, and family members or close friends take shifts in watching over the departed. As a sign of respect, all mirrors in the house will be either covered or facing the walls, curtains shall also be closed and for every clock in the house time will stop at the time the person past away.
Ireland will never cease to surprise us! Hope you enjoy reading this us much as I enjoyed writing it.
Emily from StayPlanet