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Irish Traditions and Celtic Jewelry

St. Patrick’s Day may, at times, appear as an excuse to gorge on several rubins, potato sides, and many, many beer pitchers, all the while foolishly dancing above a green river or street. Truthfully, the newfound contemporary traditions provide for fabulous celebrations. Though, the long time traditions of the patron Saint’s holiday are beyond the silly Irish beer-induced outings which have developed over time. Originally, this holiday developed as a Day Of Feast in honor of Ireland's patron saint accompanied by a celebratory parade and the exchanging of small tokens of affection between family, friends, and loved ones.

Tokens gifted on the Irish holiday often include a design of Celtic origins. The Claddagh ring is the most common and visually recognizable of all celtic jewelry pieces. Among the Claddagh there are over 30 widely known Celtic symbols and designs as well as a personal crest presented to each family with Irish heritage. Though, the Claddagh is one which stands alone. A design carefully curated with rich heartfelt meaning, composed of two hands cupping a heart in the center, and a crown resting atop. No part was placed thoughtlessly. The hands are positioned to represent friendship, the heart a symbol of love, and the crown to illustrate loyalty. The Claddagh motif directly translates, "in love and friendship let us reign."

There are several varying proposed origin stories as to where the Claddagh design developed. The name, "Claddagh" refers specifically to a small fishing village near Galway City. This is where the design is presumed to have originated. Although, the story behind its creation has been told in varying narrations.

The most favored origin story is a lore which states an Irishman, by the name of Richard Joyce, was kidnapped and enslaved on a boat as a goldsmith for 14 years. During this time he experienced an immeasurable homesickness. Through his intense and ultimate longing to return to the woman with whom he loved he seized and pocketed small particles of gold as a form of rebellion. After many years he had collected enough to create a ring which would embody his love, and loyalty to her. He hoped that over the last 14 years she had not been alone, that she had friends to keep her warm. After all this time he was released when William III came to the throne of England. His handler offered him his only daughters hand in marriage and half of the wealth if only he stayed a goldsmith. Joyce refused the offer, and returned to Claddagh. Upon arriving home Richard learned that the woman of his heart had not married. He presented her with the ring he had spent over a decade crafting for her, and they lived happily ever after.

As the classical intention behind the Green Irish Holiday is meant to bring people together in celebration of tenderness with close companions, and loved ones the contemporary celebrations of beer pitchers, rubins, irish jigs, and carpools home are on par. These St. Patrick's Day events bind relationships in a warm celebratory experience. The Irish Saint has blessed granted an opportunity to celebrate and indulge in love beyond that of romance. Graced with the chance to embrace the platonic and familial tenderness which is often overlooked in today's loveview. This St. Patrick’s Day, be encouraged to go out, eat rubins, wash them down with pitchers upon pitchers of Irish beer, and find yourself taking a safe trip home. Uber with a new confidant after passing a Claddagh token to whomever you love. Given any context. The Claddagh design, among any celtic knot or crest, may be worn in a variety of fashions. Fathers often gift claddaghs to their children, they may be passed down as heirlooms, shared between lovers or pals, and gifts to thyself. This holiday partake in the beloved contemporary traditions as well as the more foundational traditions, be reminded to Let Love and Friendship Reign.


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