The Irish have a saying: “Marry in May and rue the day; marry in April, if you can, joy for maiden and for man,” but December 31st is considered the luckiest day of the year to marry. It is also good luck if the stone in the bride’s engagement ring is her birthstone.
Here is a traditional Irish Wedding Blessing:
May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children’s children;
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings;
May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.
The ancient Irish had a tradition of “handfasting,” a trial marriage period of one year and one day, after which they could renew their vows. The couple’s hands were ceremonially tied together with a ribbon, left to left and right to right.
Irish weddings can last up to three days and therefore Wednesday is the most favored wedding day, followed by Monday or Tuesday. Weddings are never held on Sunday; it is a day of rest.
Another favorite celebration of the Irish is Saint Patrick’s Day. Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, held religious feasts on March 17th. It was also the date of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day on that date for thousands of years, briefly relaxing Lenten restrictions to feast on bacon and cabbage, drink and dance. Corned beef replaced bacon among Irish-American immigrants in the early nineteenth century.
Traditional Irish Toasts on Saint Patrick’s Day wish good luck and prosperity, such as this one:
May the leprechauns be near you, To spread luck along your way. And may all the Irish angels, Smile upon you St. Patrick’s Day.
Irish toasts are steeped in both religious ceremony and superstition. They often combine references to God, Saint Patrick, and luck. Many are proverbs, reminding the receiver of the blessings in life. Here’s an example:
Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue.But never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.
Birthdays are another time of celebration and Irish Birthday Toasts emphasize longevity, luck, and prosperity.
Whatever the event may be, you can be sure there is an Irish toast to celebrate it!