Multi ethnic Ireland, multi cultured weddings

400.000 foreigners live in 2006 Ireland. That means 10% of the country’s population, but what do we know about their wedding habits? These are some traditions of the most represented nationalities in Ireland.

Arabic Weddings-
They vary depending on the country and religion. In Moslem weddings, men and women are separated in different areas and the women symbolically mourn the loss of the bride by doing the “wedding wail”. The groom may not see his bride until the wedding day and her hands and feet are painted with henna.

Wedding invitations and also some gifts are wrapped in red, as red and gold are the traditional colours of happiness and wealth. Bride and groom must pay homage and respect to their elders for their guidance and wisdom. To chase any evil spirits away from the newlyweds, firecrackers are lit after the ceremony. The bride will be presented in at least three different wedding outfits.

Laurel leaves are scattered outside as the couple leaves the church. At the reception, the newlyweds toast using a two-handled cup, Coup de marriage, that has been passed through the generations. After the wedding reception, some of the friends will bang pots and pans and sing loudly outside their bedroom window. The groom is supposed to invite them in.

It could be a three day celebration. Uninvited guests go to the bride or groom’s parents’ house to be part of the celebrations. The bride, after a ceremonial cleansing, is painted with henna on her hands and feet. After the ceremony, the brothers of the groom toss flower petals to chase the evil away from the Newlyweds.

The couple are given bread and salt, wine and honey, considered the elements of life.

The couples’ way is blocked by children that the best man must pay “toll” to, on the way to the church. The parents of the bride and groom give them bread and salt, as they meet at the reception. That represents the good things and also the bitterness they might meet in their life together. Guests give the bride money, and she gives them small gifts.

In Quaker tradition, all the guests must sign the wedding certificate, as their ceremony doesn’t include clergy. The bride is presented to the groom by herself, as it is believed that she belongs to no one but herself.