Tag Archives: blessing

An Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

 

Above is an old Irish blessing that my mother remembers her family often paraphrasing at birthdays and other family gatherings. Also, cards with this saying were very popular.

Though not used a blessing at weddings, my mother said that sometimes someone said this blessing at reception as part of a toast. My mother’s father’s side was very Irish, and my mother’s grandmother was the first generation of Americans in her family that emigrated to the United States from Ireland at the turn of the century.

The part of the blessing that my mother remembers is, “may the road rise up to meet you.” The way she reads the blessing, it is a way to wish the best for a person, or a couple, on any celebrated occasion that marks a milestone like a birthday or an accomplishment like graduation or a ceremony like a wedding.

Although the entire blessing is listed above, (my mother had to look it up because she couldn’t remember it exactly), only parts of the blessing was used when spoken at family functions. My mother the part of the blessing most often said was, “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.”   If the entire blessing was read, it was usually just at weddings.

Ritual/Tradition – Greek

Blessing of a Home: Before entering a home a person will throw money in the doorway to bless the family.

This type of ritual/tradition is practiced amongst the Greek culture. Nichelle learned this belief from her Greek mother and grandmother who have taught her the traditions and rituals of the Greek culture. This tradition is practiced amongst the Greek families and can be used to bless other homes that are not of Greek origin. If a family is not of Greek origin the tradition may be slightly changed where the person being invited to the house warming will not throw money into the house but will put money in an envelope as a gift to the family. This tradition occurs when family and friends are invited over for a dinner party to celebrate living in a new home. One member or more of the family will take money and throw it in the doorway of the home before stepping inside the home. Nichelle was not sure of what the money symbolized, she was only aware of this practice being a tradition amongst Greek families.

I agree with Nichelle’s interpretation of a Greek house-warming tradition. This certain tradition has taken on many different forms in other cultures as well. For instance, for many African American house warming parties; it is part of tradition to bring an entrée or beverage of some sort in order to celebrate a family’s new home. Money is also another gift that is given in envelopes or cards as a way of congratulating families for stepping into another stage of adulthood. Although money is not thrown instantly at the door, we can see in other cultures that the same tradition is kept, but through different forms and practices. I also could imagine that money could be a symbol of good luck for the family to lead a long and prosperous life in their new home. This practice could also be a way of showing the family that they have friends and family that are there as systems of support whenever they may need financial assistance. For example, the money may go to helping to pay for new furniture and kitchen items for their new home.