Wearing a Claddagh Ring
Wearing a Claddagh Ring is one of the oldest traditions that is widely known. This traditional ring shows two hands holding a crowned heart between them and is often given by young Irish men to their girlfriends as a gift. Sometimes, it is also inherited from a family member. The ring has its part in wedding ceremonies, as well.
When a woman is single and available, the ring is worn on the right hand, with the ring facing out to the world. When said woman is in a relationship, it is turned inwards, toward her heart.
When using this ring as an engagement ring, it is moved to the wearer’s left hand and pointing out to the world. The ring is once again turned inward on the left hand when the woman is married. This symbolism makes the Claddagh a popular engagement ring and a unique wedding ring.
Wearing a blue wedding dress
The traditional Irish bride wore a blue wedding dress rather than a white one. In ancient times, this color was a symbol of purity. It is believed that white later became the universal symbol for purity and virginity by way of the British monarchs such as Queen Victoria. These days, blue wedding gowns are very rare, but wouldn’t it be fun to have your own dash of color, steeped in this Irish tradition?
Getting married … minus your shoes
If you want to follow another Irish tradition, a bridge and groom may also consider being married barefoot—an ancient Celtic wedding tradition. To feel one’s feet directly on the soil is a way of connecting to Mother Earth. It is also a sign of simplicity and humility. We are all made of earth and we are ultimately children of the earth. To be barefoot in one’s ceremony connects into this ancient Celtic perspective.
Tying the knot…literally
The phrase ‘tying the knot’ comes from an old Irish tradition that symbolizes the bond of marriage in the same way that exchanging rings does is most ceremonies today. When the ceremony reaches the point where husband and wife are married, the couple then clasp their hands together, and a ribbon is wound around their joined hands as a symbol of their agreement to spend their lives together.
Ringing bells to ward off evil spirits
Giving a bell as a wedding gift is another Irish tradition. The chime of the bells is said to keep evil spirits away and also remind the married couple of their wedding vows. A nice modern twist is to hand out tiny bells to your guests so they can celebrate when the bride and groom exit the church. This is a lot more eco-friendly than throwing rice toward the bride and groom and no clean-up required.
I promised one Irish superstition, and here it is:
The bride shouldn't take both feet off the floor when dancing with her new husband.
It gives the fairies an edge.