Irish social rituals
Today, I would like to explain a lit bit more social rituals in Ireland. I have already spoken about St Patrick's day but there are a lot of things in addition we can speak about.
1. Symbol and emblem of Ireland
One day St Patrick (an Irish evangelist) tried to explain the Holy Trinity with a shamrock during a homily to Irish people. From this day shamrock was become the Irish symbol.
But if the shamrock is the national symbol, the official Irish emblem is the celtic harp (Clàrsach in Scotland and Clairseach in Irish). The history of celtic harp is dating back at least 1000 years. Even if people around the world firstly think about shamrock, celtic harp is represented on many official documents, on Irish euro coins, on Irish passports, on the flag of Leinster ... and so on. Moreover the harp is used as logo for several national companies as Guinness.
2. Languages in Ireland
There are two languages in Ireland : English and Irish (Gaelic). Nowadays even if Irish people speak English, Gaelic is still taught in schools. There are only a handful of people who daily speak Gaelic. Indeed there are not many people who are using Gaelic as first language.
I have learnt few words and sentences in Gaelic :
Conas atcé tù ? = How are you ?
Tá mé go maith = I am fine
Is mise Anne = I am Anne
3. Culture and traditions
a. Myths and legends
- leprechaun : is a 90 centimetre man. He is entirely dressed in green and has a cobbler apron (leigh bhrogan in Gaelic). This little man spend his time creating shoes and counting his gold coins. He likes drinking dudeens, a homemade liquor, and smoking his pipe.
The legend tells leprechauns put their coins in a cauldron that they hide at the bottom of rainbows.
- banshee ( Bean Si or Bean Sidhe in Gaelic ) : is a feminine creature who announces death with her strident screams (also called keenings). Indeed she is a woman who suffers and screams to explain her pain. The banshee is a woman dressed in white and with unkempt hair.
b. musical tradition
If you like harp, violin, panpipes or tin whistle so traditional Irish music is made for you.
But there is also another kind of music in Ireland, more joyful, more convivial and festive that you can hear in bars. I share with you a famous song by the Dubliners I have heard several times in Ireland.
c. national events
The most famous national event in Ireland is the St patrick's day. I have already written about this event in this article : St Patrick's day.
There are 3 famous sports in Ireland. The first one is Hurling, the second one is Gaelic Football and the last one is rugby.
- Gaelic Football : please refer to my article about this sport. You need to read it first to understand well what is exactly Gaelic Football and Hurling.
- Hurling (iománaíocht in Gaelic) : Hurling has the same pitch than Gaelic Football, the same number of players and the same way to count points. There are also no professional players. The latters play with a stick called hurley or camán used to hit the ball called sliotar.
Here a short video (less than 2 minutes) :
- Rugby : This sport has also a significant place in Ireland. The team of Ireland, called the XV of Shamrock, has won 19 times the 6 Nations Tournament including two Grand Slam in 1948 and 2009.
As I have already said in a previous article there are two main religions in Ireland : Catholicism and Protestantism.
Everywhere we go in Ireland we find a church. Cities often own several churchs. For instance there is a small city (with less than 30 000 inhabitants) near to Dundalk called Drogheda which owns more than 5 steeples.
Religion is very important in Ireland. Most of Irish people are believers. Indeed in the Republic of Ireland more than 85% of the population is Catholic, 5% is Protestant and 5% Atheist.
By contrast in Northern Ireland a little bit more than 40% is Protestant, 40% is Catholic and less than 20% is Atheist. It is especially an issue in Northern Ireland where both religions are in conflict for many years (even if today most of them want to live in peace). Lots of clashes occured between both sides. If you want more details you can read one of my articles :elections in Northern Ireland.
Republic of Ireland is Catholic since the fifth century. The country was evangelized by St Patrick and the evangelization lasted one century. After that Irish people built many churchs, monasteries and abbeys. Consequently Ireland had an important cultural and religious influence. At the beginning of the ninth century monks wrote the famous Book of Kells you can find in Trinity College Library in Dublin.
Book of Kells
7. family and religion in Ireland
In Ireland, religion have a such important it influences family life and family politicy. Indeed abortion is stricly forbidden and can be punished by Irish law. Concerning divorce it is authorised only since 1995 and only after 4 years of separation and if the couple does not achieve to find solution to their problems.
Concerning the practice of the religion Irish people are used to going to mass each week.
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