Toast – Ireland

May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

The informant, Brendan Murphy, says his family uses this toast at family gatherings right before everyone begins to eat. Brendan learned this toast from his grandfather, who is a native of Ireland. Brendan says his grandfather always proposes the toast. One time Brendan’s dad started the toast and it was weird for Brendan. He says that the eldest patriarch of the family is supposed to start the toast. According to Brendan, the toast is way of wishing everyone present good fortune throughout life. Brendan likes the toast because he sees it as a family tradition that is distinctly Irish and he is very proud of his Irish heritage. Brendan hopes to continue using this toast at family gatherings and wants to propose the toast at some point in his life.
The toast has several elements that make it seem distinctly Irish. First the presence of the devil and heaven in the toast relate to the strong Catholic beliefs many Irish people hold. The devil is obviously seen as a malicious figure in this toast. The toast being about good fortune also suggests it is Irish as beliefs about luck are ubiquitous in Irish culture. The toast is essentially saying may you be so lucky that you get to heaven before the devil realizes you have died. Wishing someone luck in the afterlife is wishing him or her a lucky life in general. Although the quote is not specific to their family, the family has adopted it, so it must have had some special significance to them at some point.