ABOUT THESE KNOTS:
These Celtic knot have been inspired by the beautiful manuscripts and metal work from the 8th century. The most famous of these are the manuscripts are Book of Kells, Lindesfarne and Durrow.
The Book of Kells is one of the most famous books in the history of the world and was completed in about 800 AD. The vellum (calfskin) manuscript contains transcriptions of the four Gospels, lavishly illustrated and ornamented. It is the most elaborate manuscript of its kind to survive from the early Middle Ages. The scribes and artists who created the Book were Columban monks who lived in a monastery on the remote island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland. The monastery was founded late in the sixth century by an Irish monk, Colm Cille. At the time the book was produced, Irish monks were renowned throughout the rest of Europe for their work as scribes and illustrators. The Book of Kells contains 680 pages (or 340 folios). Just two of the pages are without ornament, while about thirty folios, including some major decorated pages, have been lost. The Book of Kells is a copy of the four Gospels in Latin. It is known for the extraordinary array of pictures, interlaced shapes and oranamental details. A 13th century scholar, Giraldus Cambrensis, writes of the Book of Kells "... you might believe it was the work of an angel rather than a human being". The Book is the most famous manuscript in the Library of Trinity College Dublin where it is permanently on display.
Traditions are dying away all over the world but one of the traditions that still prevails is Brigid's cross. On the eve of St. Bridig's day feb. 1st, the cross is brought into the home. Bridig blessed the heart and home on this night. I heard that up to the 1950, the woman of the house (Ban an Ti) would pass the cross around her body three times in front of the house, Than she would encircle the house and would do this three times. Then the cross would be welcomed into the front door by the family and hung over the kitchen door, being the heart of the house. Bridig has earlier connections with the Fire Goddess Broe Agid, The keeper of the 3 sacred flames.
Dancing at the Crossroads.
How beautiful can life be in simple living. Those were the days. I remember being put outside a public house at closing time and the musicians started to play outside the door Well we got a crew together and there we dance our hearts out in the middle of the road that I grew up on. Those were the days.
STRANGE SUPERSTITIONS In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Irish
believed that if the sun shone on the bride, it would bring good luck
to the couple. It was also lucky to hear a cuckoo on the wedding morning
or to see three magpies. After the wedding ceremony, it was important
that a man and not a woman be the first to wish joy to the new bride.
IRISH LACE While bridal fashions in Ireland resemble the rest of the Western world, one distinct touch is the Irish lace.This beautiful fabric can be incorporated into the gown or veil. Long ago, the veil represented purity, chasitity and to hide the bride from mischievious fairies who would steal her away for her fine dress. (A horseshoe could be sown into the wedding dress or hidden in the brides bouquet for good luck as well.) If that's too expensive, consider carrying a lace handkerchief in your bridal bag or gifting them out to attendants.Color scheme? Follow Irish heritage, of course, and go for green, white, and gold.
THE PROCESSION Some couples have the auspicious luck to recite their vows near a lake, river or well. In ancient times being married near a water source meant the favor of the Celtic goddesses, such as Aine, Boann, and Sinead. Like wishing on a penny, wedding guests were given small stones to cast into the water making a wish for the betrothed.
BARRING THE DOOR Since Irish men were known for getting cold feet on their wedding days, once the bride and groom were in the church, the guests would lock the door to keep the groom inside to make sure he went through with the ceremony. THE LIGHT THAT BINDS The lighting of candle(s) was another ritual that sanctified the marriage of two people, perhaps from different clans. One member of each family could light a single taper and the couple lights the Unity Candle together. Modern rituals can be created to include children in this part of the ceremony.
HAND-FASTING This ancient ritual of binding oneself to another for 13 moons and one day (a year), came down from the Irish Brehon laws. Drawing a circle, or "caim" around themselves and friends and relatives surrounding as witnesses, no clergy was needed. This was the simple pledge of 'tying the knot' or binding their hands gently together with a linen cloth, tartan or cording. Originally, this was a trial contract for the first year. This is just one of many rituals that were included in the old Brehon marriage contract.
THE CELTIC RING Becoming more embraced for its intricate symbolism, the Celtic weave ring is now the most popular Irish wedding ring. It is a reflection of the entwined lives coming together and the sacredness of that journey. These knots and weaves were the creation of the monks in the monastry's between the 6th and 9h centurys. The geometric weaves have surpassed the Claddagh that has been popular for many years. After the exchange of rings, the groom also gave the bride a silver coin as a token of sharing all that he possesses. The coin was then a keepsake, passed from mother to eldest son on his wedding day. A newly minted coin is most auspicious.
INSTEAD OF RICE At the completion of the ceremony, the tossing of coins, "grushie", by the guests represent more good wishes of luck and prosperity to the newly weds. Wrapped candies can also be tossed to represent 'plenty' in the years to come while children scrabble for the sweets.
"SLAINTE!" THE IRISH TOAST The wedding party gathers around the bride and groom. All fill their glasses with mead and the newly wedded couple recites an Irish toast: "Friends and relatives, so fond and dear, 'tis our greatest pleasure to have you here. When many years this day has passed, fondest memories will always last. So we drink a cup of Irish mead and ask God's blessing in your hour of need." The guests respond: "On this special day, our wish to you, the goodness of the old, the best of the new. God bless you both who drink this mead, may it always fill your every need." Need more toasting tips? Check out the blessings below.
. AN IRISH FEAST The traditional Irish menu -- Irish soda bread, corned beef, and cabbage -- is perhaps not something you'd typically crave, but when cooked right and served up at a big wedding fete, it's positively delicious (not to mention that it all gets washed down with plenty of whiskey and Guinness Stout). And don't forget the traditional Irish wedding cake, a fruitcake filled with almonds, raisins, cherries, and spice and laced with brandy or bourbon. Want to bake it yourself? Receipt below.
A TRADITIONAL DANCE Every county in Ireland celebrates a dance of its own. The traditional Ceilidh (dance gathering), usually hosts a lively "caller" and winds its way into the wee hours. If you would like to dance something more than a waltz and have a lot more fun, check in to local dance classes. Ask the wedding party to attend a few classes with you. It's great fun and high energy. Let your guests know the significance of the origins of the dance and invite them to join in.
THE MONTH OF HONEY The word for honey is "meala" in Irish. "Mi na meala," the month of honey, refers to the month after the wedding when the newlyweds celebrated by drinking mead, a brew made of fermented honey. Following the wedding, a sufficient amount of mead was given to the bride and groom, along with special goblets, so they could share the unique brew for one full moon after their wedding -- and thus the term honeymoon was coined. It was believed that this delicate yet potent drink was the best way to ensure a good beginning for a new marriage, and it was also believed to endow powers of virility and fertility.
THE MARRIAGE OR MAKEUP BELL At least one bell should be given as a wedding gift. The bell is placed centrally in the newlywed's home. If an unresolvable arguement should errupt, one of the couple may retrieve the bell and ring it. This signifies the end of the disagreement and a call for a truce without guilt or repercussions.
MODERN SWING ON THINGS You can incorporate these traditions into your wedding with just a few simple modifications. Instead of hiring a complete band of pipers, get one to play at certain points during the wedding -- maybe outside the ceremony as people enter and leave. Instead of mead, drink your favorite champagne but recite an Irish toast. Use Claddagh rings for wedding bands, and be sure to take a look at some of the modern interpretations of the Claddagh. Also, don't forget that one way to celebrate your love of all things Irish is to honeymoon in Ireland -- it's gorgeous, and oh-so-romantic.
I thought I'd just include things that you could conceivably have as part of your wedding. The bride represented a treasure which the man then had to fight to win. Mock hostility is displayed by blocking entrances or gateways [ i.e. with a rope barrier ] so that the couple would have to display their determination to be together [ by breaking through ] There was also the 'taking' of the bride where the groom steals her away and is pursued by her family ! Actually this rings true for present weddings at home where the couple leave through a tunnel created by the wedding party holding hands above their heads. I stand opposite you and we make an 'arch' with our clasped raised arms which the couple then duck beneath The idea is that you drop your arms and block them, releasing them with good wishes and kisses. Conversely, a member of the bride's family might steal her away to be pursued by the groom and his party. Sometimes the bride is to dress up and hide in a group of women and the groom must choose her from among them.
The Irish Wedding Song
Here they stand hand in hand
they've exchanged wedding bands
Today is the day of their dreams and their plans,
and all we who love them just wanted to say.
May God bless this couple who married today
In good times and bad times in sickness and health
may they know that riches are not needed for wealth
and help them face problems they'll meet on their way
Oh god bless this couple who married today
May they find peace of mind comes to all who are kind
May the rough times ahead become triumphs in time
May their children be happy each day
Oh God bless this family who started today
As they go may they know every love that was shown
And as life it gets shorter may their feelings grow
Wherever they travel wherever they stay
May God bless this couple who married today
*substitute first names of bride and groom in the last line of song
as in god bless...and ....
They say when the mother of the groom will bake the cake and give a piece to a yound maid at the wedding, that she will that night dream of the lover she'll wed. I have seen it happen and to be true myself.
This is just a simple outline for a the great occasion of a marriage ceremony. It is based on the ancient solar wheel marked out by all the fine cultures of the world. It can apply to European, Eastern and Native American to name a few.
We are here today to celebrate the commitment of Yourselves. We come together in this circle, in this sun wheel of life to share this experience and we will welcome the four corners to make this ceremony sacred.
Open your palms and face the east. Welcome the spirit of the East as it brings us new beginnings each day of our lives. The new beginning today is for _____________ as they take this journey through life together. For them it is new beginning of a journey that may bring them Much abundance and happiness. New beginnings are for each day as they will grow in love and understanding.
We welcome to spirit of the South as it brings us abundance of Life. In the summer the fields are full for the sun is high in the sky. We give blessing for our own abundance and wish to bestow abundance upon ____________ in this place. May they have an abundance of Love and happiness from this day forward .......
We welcome the spirit of the West for this brings a time of day for learning. Each days comes a time for reflection on the days passing. The setting sun shows us the day is done. There are lessons and learning's for each of us on this journey. For ________________ May these learning's of the setting sun bring them closer together on their precious journey and they will reflect on the laughter of the day.
We welcome the spirit of the North. As in the wheel it shows us a silent and quieter place and more silent place. It is a place within our selves that serves for contemplation and self renewal. A place that our and most inner selves and plays an important part of your journey together, For each of you bring will your own true nature to this union today.
It is this this circle that we gather today beneath the the stars in the sky and our feet on the Earth. We give thanks to this place, to the Earth we stand upon, to life around us, and to the heavens above. It is in this circle that we will unify the love and commitment of __________________
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