Thursday, January 5, 2017

Irish Wedding Bell Tradition then and Now

If I say wedding bells, most of my readers will picture church bells ringing to celebrate the vows taken by newlyweds. Did you ever wonder where the wedding bells tradition came from? It roots go back to an Irish tradition when the bells were sounded to ward off evil spirits to make a happy family life certain. But this tradition goes back even farther -- before church bells.

The Irish wedding bell tradition began with the Irish family giving the couple a set of bells after they recited their vows. Again, the bells were rung to ward off evil spirits. After they were married, the wedding bells were kept in the couple’s home to remind them of their vows to each other.

Today, the Irish wedding bell makes a great wedding gift for Irish couples. The custom is to place it in a prominent place in the newlywed’s home, and if/when the couple happens to argue they ring the bell as a reminder of their wedding vows and the original ringing of the church bells on their wedding day. According to this custom, if the argument can’t be settled affably, the bell is rung louder. The reasoning − the sound of the bell can purify and dispel over stimulated emotions. The result is supposed to be a change in perspective. Plus, the sounding of the bell signals the end of the argument, even if neither the husband or wife capitulated. It offers the equivalent of a “time out” in the “discussion,” and allows time for both people to cool down and think rationally. For this reason, it is also known as the Irish make up bell.

The Irish wedding bell remains an endearing wedding tradition with its origins in an old superstition. Today it can be celebrated in a number of ways. Some couples give their guests small bells at the ceremony to be rung after the vows are completed, or at the reception to be used as kissing bells. Some brides choose to wear a small bracelet or charm with tiny bells. All of these offer ways to include this tradition in your special day, but having an Irish wedding bell on display in your home offers a special keepsake marking the couple’s Irish heritage and the special vows exchanged that day.


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