As with most age-old customs, the wedding day is full of folklore, myths, and superstitions that dictate the ultimate happiness or doom of the bridal couple. In ancient times, engaged couples were believed to be particularly susceptible to evil spirits and curses, so there came to be a number of traditions and superstitions implemented in an effort to thwart such negative influences. While the vast majority of these are no longer relevant, they continue to be observed, often with no understanding of their origin or implications. Here are some examples:
- It is good luck for the bride to encounter a lamb, dove, frog, policeman, clergyman, doctor, blind man or rainbow on her way to the church to get married.
- It is bad luck if the bride encounters a lizard, pig or funeral procession on her way to the ceremony. It is also bad luck if the groom encounters a blind person, pregnant woman, monk or nun on his way to proposing.
- Sunshine en route to the ceremony brings good fortune.
- It is good luck for the bride to find a spider in her wedding dress on the day of her marriage.
- An open umbrella held over the bride is seen as a protection from evil spirits.
- Saturday is considered to be an unlucky day to get married.
- May and July are considered unlucky months in which to marry.
- The engagement ring comes from a time when the bride-to-be was restrained by means of bands around her wrists and ankles. These showed that she was taken. These were later made from gold and in the form of a ring to signify wealth and a material sacrifice on the part of the groom.
- The “Something Borrowed” has to be returned to the original owner to bring good luck.
- Blue is a lucky colour in Ireland and represented purity in Biblical times.
- It was considered unlucky if the dress was tried on in a completed form before the wedding day. For this reason, one stitch was always left for just before the bride entered the church, when it would be the last step to complete the making of the dress.
- The bottom layer of the cake represents the combined family of the bridal couple and the top layer represents the new husband and wife. Each layer in-between signifies the number of children the couple will have.
- It is good luck for the bride’s hand to be the first to cut the cake.
- If a child under five years of age steals some icing from the cake, the couple’s first child will be the same gender as the mini thief.
- Noisy cans and other items are tied to the couple’s car in order to scare away wicked spirits.
- Looking in the mirror just before leaving the house for the ceremony will bring the bride good luck. Going back to the mirror once she has started to depart will cause misfortune.
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