At The New Home


The Marital Welcome

Upon arriving at the new home, the festivities continued. Everyone was invited in with the greeting, come ben the hoose

Crossing the Threshold

After the walk home, the bride had to enter at the new home, or haudin, through the main entrance. It was considered bad luck for the bride to trip, or fall, while entering her new home.

It was also unlucky for the bride to step into her new home with her left foot first. So to avoid these omens of bad luck, the groom simply picked her up and carried her over the threshold.

Bannocks

Barley and oat flour biscuits were broken over the Bride’s head, while she was in the doorway of her new home. A piece of the bannock was passed for each guest to eat.

The Minister’s Blessing

Once inside, the meenister blessed the newlyweds, their home, and their marriage bed, ending his duties in the ceremony.

Preparing the Marital Bed

One custom was for the two mothers to have prepared the marriage bed. Another custom was for a guid-wife with milk in her breasts to prepare the marital bed, thus encouraging growthiness in the newlyweds.

Sprinkling The Marriage Bed

Another custom I’ve stumbled on recently is from the island of Barra, in the Outer Hebrides. Barra is believed to have been inhabited as early at the 1st Century.

Remember Barra is an island where the sea and fishing sustained the people. One of their wedding traditions is to sprinkle water on the marriage bed, with an accompanying blessing.

Hystin’ or Beddin’

When couples went directly to their new hoose, all the other young people accompanied them, helping the new couple into their bed. The friends would then go outside and dance all night ~ thus our American ‘Shiveree’, a newer name for an old Scottish wedding tradition.

The Shamrock

Image courtesy morguefile.com

The bride made sure a shamrock plant was kept in the house for luck.

Donning the Breid Tri Chearnach

On the morning after the wedding, the bride put on a breid tri chearnach , or kertch, for the first time. This solemn ceremony was a wedding tradition, in which her mother placed the kertch on her head. Her mother would then pray for the daughter, as a married woman, to walk under the guidance of the Holy Trinity.

One known prayer was

Be thou hospitable, yet be wise,
Be thou vigorous, yet be calm,
Be thou frank, but be reserved,
Be thou exact, yet generous.
With thy kertch,
To thee a thousand thousand hails.

The Reverand Donald MacLeod, of Skye, wrote a poem greeting his bride when she first appeared wearing her breid tri chearnach.

In the 1800’s the kertch evolved into a mutch, a lovely white linen or cotton bonnet, much adorned with lace and frills.

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