Irish Customs, Folklore & Food for Your Family Reunion
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Celebrating culture and heritage is plenty of fun for Irish families when they get together for a family reunion. Ireland has a rich history of arts, music, dance, mythology, and cuisine. By introducing some of these aspects in a family reunion, it is a wonderful way of passing down parts of one’s heritage to the next generation. Many people in the U.S. have Irish ancestry. Even if you have not been to Ireland, there is still plenty you can do to celebrate the culture.
Irish song and dance have become well-known in the last couple of decades thanks to the award-winning touring show, Riverdance. There are several types of dances, including set dancing, ceili, and step dancing. Although some require training, it is nevertheless fun to try. There are several feast days celebrated in Ireland, ranging from ancient pagan feasts to modern Catholic-influenced ones. Each has their own rituals, which can also vary based on the family.
- Types of Irish Dance – Learn more about the history and structure of Ireland’s traditional dances.
- Set Dancing – Find out all about set dancing patterns, variations, and music.
- Comparing Dances – See how each Irish dance differs and which music is most appropriate.
- Special Days – Modern feast days in Ireland still borrow some old traditions.
- Quirky Traditions – Some of these Irish traditions were taken quite seriously, but they will put a smile your face!
Most people are familiar with the image of the Irish leprechaun. While leprechauns do figure in Irish folklore, there are also a number of other magical characters that appear frequently in stories and often in designs on custom shirts. Ancient Irish mythology, on the other hand, used more foreboding characters. They included various gods, goddesses, fearsome warriors, and so on. Irish folklore is a lively affair that makes for a fascinating session of group story-telling complete with fantastic graphic t-shirts.
- Online Irish Texts – Pick from a long selection of Irish myths for a magical story session.
- Traditional Irish Stories – Read some of the most famous traditional stories in Irish culture.
- Famous Celts – Learn about famous Irish characters, both real and mythological!
- Celtic Mythological Cycles – Celtic mythology is ordered into four main eras, or cycles.
- Irish Myth Glossary – Make up an Irish trivia quiz at your reunion with this glossary of traditional mythological characters and places.
- Irish Story Themes – War and magic make up two of the most common themes in Irish folklore.
- Celtic Deities – For the Ancient Celts, their gods were not only deities, but also considered as ancestors.
Although potatoes have come to be a bit of an Irish stereotype, they are usually joined by several other foods. Some of the most common dishes include boxty (potato pancakes), Irish soda bread, and shepherd’s pie. Irish food tends to be substantial, wintery fare that is hearty without any pretenses. Today there are several variations on Irish food, especially in America. For example, when early Irish immigrants introduced the meal of green cabbage with bacon here, the bacon was primarily used because it was inexpensive. Later on families added corned beef instead. Today many people still eat corned beef with green cabbage, assuming that it is the traditional dish. Another example is the famous Irish coffee. Although most restaurants serve it with a dollop of whipped cream on top, the original version simply had liquid cream poured into the drink. Whatever your preferences might be, it is the variations that help Irish cuisine to evolve!
- Assorted Irish Recipes – Browse some assorted recipes for a taste of delicious Irish cuisine.
- Boxty – This delicious savory snack is a pancake made of grated potato.
- Colcannon – Try a recipe for a hearty dish of cabbage and potatoes.
- Green Cabbage With Bacon (PDF) – Fried green cabbage (with other vegetables) was originally served with bacon instead of the pricier corned beef.
- Irish Coffee – Irish coffee is traditionally prepared with a shot of Irish whiskey and cream.
- Irish Cuisine – Watch videos on traditional Irish cuisine and how it is linked to the culture.
- Irish Food Traditions – See how Irish culture is still linked to some traditional foods.
- Irish Menu Example (PDF) – Use this sample Irish menu to help plan a special reunion meal.