Is There an Irish Tradition for a House Warming Gift?

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Is There an Irish Tradition for a House Warming Gift?

One of the most heartwarming experiences is to receive a gift when you move into a new home. It's a time for celebration and this tradition is found throughout the world's various cultures. Ireland is a country filled with fun folklore and beautiful traditions. There are also Irish blessings. These blessings, along with traditional gifts, offer a wide variety of choices for housewarming gifts.

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Wishing Them a Wonderful Life

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Perhaps you remember the housewarming scene from the film, ​It's a Wonderful Life​ with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. If so, you may recall they gave their friends a loaf of bread, salt and a bottle of wine with the following blessing: "Bread -- that this house may never know hunger, salt -- that life may always have flavor and wine -- that joy and prosperity may reign forever."

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Gift Bags With Assorted Goodies

One Irish housewarming gift includes a gift bag that has bread or other groceries, a bag of coal and some coins in a purse. Another variation is bread, a candle and salt with the card attached: "Bread so you may never go hungry, a candle to light your way and salt that you may always have spice in your life." You could also give a basket with lovely cheeses, crackers and canned meats. Instead of coal, perhaps give a beautiful blanket or quilt with the Irish chain pattern. As always, a bit of cash is always welcome.

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Traditional Irish House Blessing

Another idea is to present your friends with a plaque with an Irish house blessing on it. Many folks find it very sad that most of the traditional Irish blessings are considered old-hat and outdated. It might even be difficult today to find people who use or even recall any of those blessings.

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Be that as it may, one such traditional Irish blessing that would be appropriate for an accompanying housewarming gift would be: "May you always have work for your hands to do/May your pockets hold always a coin or two/May the sun shine bright on your windowpane/May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain/May the hand of a friend always be near you/And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you."

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Traditional Kitchen Prayers

A variation to the plaque could be an embroidered wall hanging with the following Irish blessing: "Bless us with good food/The gift of gab, And hearty laughter/May the love and joy/We share be with us/Ever after. Amen." There are many Irish-themed websites that offers a variety of beautiful Irish blessings for plaques or hand-stitched gifts (see Resources).

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Wishing Them Good Luck and Wellbeing

The importance of the Irish housewarming gift is to remember that you are wishing them a life filled with plenty to eat, warmth, love, light and laughter. The Irish give of their hearts as well in their housewarming gifts with a promise of continued friendship. Don't forget the shamrock for a wee bit of luck. Reflect these things in your gift and you will pass along centuries of Irish culture and tradition.

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