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What are some common Irish traditions?

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Ireland is a land replete with interesting and meaningful traditions and customs. Almost every social or cultural event or milestone from birth to death is sure to have an attending tradition, whether it is tying the hands of the bride and groom together before marriage or hitting the front door of the house with a large cake.

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The day before the New Year begins is significant for the Irish. Tradition dictates that a big supper is cooked and nothing of it is to be given away to an outsider. So travelers and beggars do not fare well on this day. At the end of the meal, the man of the house must take three bites out of a homemade cake and then hit it three times against the front door while reciting a prayer that starvation be kept away from the house and country.

Irish weddings have probably introduced the phrase "tying the knot" to describe marriage, with the tradition of binding the couple's hands together to symbolize that they are betrothed or engaged to each other. It is also customary for the bride to carry a handkerchief on her wedding day which is later made into a christening bonnet for the couple's first child.

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