Myths and Legends Tips

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Blessings for Travelers.

May the road rise to meet you; may the wind be always at your back; may the sun shine warm upon your face,
and the rain fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

   

Irish Wedding Customs

There are many ancient beliefs surrounding Irish weddings. For example - Wednesday was believed to be the luckiest day to get married on while Saturday was seen as unlucky; Green was an unlucky colour to wear at a wedding (the ancient Irish believed that the faeries would 'get' you if you wore green and steal you away to the underworld!); and, if the mother-in-law broke a piece of cake over the bride's head as she entered the marriage home it was said that the 2 women would remain friends for life!

These are just some of the many Irish superstitions that surround getting married!

   

A Blessing for Blessings.

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies, and quick to make friends. But rich or poor, quick or slow, may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

   

The Seventh Son.

The "Seventh Son" of the "Seventh" Son is believed to be born with curative powers.

   

Irish wedding proposals

Some ancient Irish wedding proposals:

1. 'Would you like to be buried with my people?' (comes from County Kildare)

2. 'Would you like to hang your washing next to mine?'

3. 'Live in my heart and pay no rent'

   

A Blessing for Keeping Friends.

May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends gathered below never fall out.

   

Culture Club.

Celtic-Cultures is an on-line discussion group hosted by e-groups. You can join this fun and informative discussion group (great Irish folktales and history tidbits are often posted) by sending a blank message to Celtic-cultures-subscribe@eGroups.com

   

Trick-or-treating.

Trick-or-treating, today, very much an All-American tradition, was derived from the English (not Irish)tradition of ‘souling' where folk went round houses on All Souls Day (2nd November) asking for soul cakes. The more cakes they got the more prayers they'd promise to say on behalf of the givers' dead relatives.

   

The Power of Salt.

Throwing salt over your shoulder is believed to bring about good luck.

   

The Meaning of Magpies.

We Irish are a very superstitious people. This rhyme tells what we believe when we see one, two, three or four magpies:

One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy

   

Finn McCool.

Finn McCool was the giant of the Giant's Causeway (Co. Antrim).

   

St. Patrick and the Snakes.

One variation of this legend tells that St. Patrick went to the top of Croaghpatrick Mountain, where he fasted for forty days and forty nights. When he finished his fast, he rang a bell and all the snakes of Ireland came to him. He then banished them to the other side of the Atlantic. Since then, there have been no snakes in Ireland.

As with all folktales there are different versions. Another version says that he banished the snakes with his walking stick!

   

A Blessing for Pub Drinkers.

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way to your door.

   

Chronicle of Celtic Folk Customs.

"Chronicle of Celtic Folk Customs" by Brian Day. The back cover reads as follows:

"Chronicle of Celtic Folk Customs contains over 450 customs of the Irish, Manx, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish and Breton Celts. This easy follow, day-to-day guide to past and current folk events features the celebrations, ceremonies, feasts, dances, games, crafts and superstitions which, along with many other aspects of folklore, constitute Celtic folk culture today.

Each custom is annotated with dates, times and directions, together with a description of events. The history, beliefs and attitudes associated with each custom are revealed, portraying the rich cultural diversity of the individual Celtic nations.

   

Shamrocks

The shamrock is important to Ireland for two principal reasons:
1. It is our national emblem (as the thistle is to the Scots)
2. It symbolizes luck and hope (esp. became important after the devastation and loss of life which occurred in Ireland during the 1845-50 famine).

   

A Blarney-ish Blessing.

Here's to you and yours and to mine and ours and if mine and ours ever come across you and yours I hope you and yours will do as much for mine and ours as mine and ours have done for you and yours.

   

The Children of Lir.

The myth of the Children of Lir is one of the most stirring in Irish folklore. Lirs' children were turned into swans and had many years of hardship to endure. To read more check out the article I wrote for Pagewise Inc. at:

Children of Lir

   
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Linda Handiak