We all know that every culture is filled with a variety of historical backgrounds that are exemplified in different aspects of life. Each culture would reminisce and embody their values, practices, and symbolisms in a subtle yet intricate manner. One of which is through the jewelry they wear, designed and encompassed with such beliefs.
One thing to take note of is that in Irish and Celtic practices, these symbols and designs don’t only bring forth a story, but their meaning also showcases the values that they practice. These values and symbolisms are expressed in the designs and explained or passed down to us by our ancestors.
Let’s go through some symbols that the public may be aware of yet have not embraced the true essence and story behind it. Learn, discover, and further understand these symbols with us today.
Circle Of Life Symbol
The Circle of Life emblem and symbol was inspired by our forefathers' 5000-year-old Celtic circles carved in stone and rocks. The Celtic swirl, which is seen in the Irish historical landmarks such as Newgrange, is a sacred symbol.
The swirl, which has no beginning or end, represents the journey and shift of life. Ireland has built a society that is affluent in tradition, heritage, and beliefs. Our diverse ancestors passed on an understanding of life, faith, and hope to succeed in the face of adversity no matter where we go and what we encounter.
St. Patrick Symbol
St Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick, legend has it, helped turn Ireland from a country of pagan ignorance into a sanctuary of study and culture in the fifth century. He is said to have preached Christianity using a Shamrock, illustrating the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit with the three heart-shaped leaves.
St Patrick's Day is observed globally by the Irish community on March 17th. It is customary to wear Shamrocks on this day in his honor and to celebrate Irish culture.
Round Towers Symbol
These beautiful stone buildings proudly stand as lasting representations of Ireland's Christian religion. Towers typically range in height from 17 to 40 metres and include a single entrance elevated two to three metres in height and small holes straight up in the tower that serve as windows. Between the ninth and twelfth centuries, it is thought that the Round Towers protected religious congregations and their priceless treasures from attackers.
The Vikings altered the environment and culture of Gaelic Ireland as traders and talented blacksmiths and metalworkers.
Irish Harp (United Irish Men Symbol)
A century later, the nation was still dominated by the huge religious difference. Catholics demanded more rights, believing that religious divisions were being exploited by the governing class. The United Irishmen's ultimate aim was to divorce religion from politics. Initially based in Belfast, the organisation was outlawed by authorities in 1793 as it gained popularity, but disbanded by 1803 due to a number of months of continuous and deadly conflict after the 1798 uprising.
Generally alluded to as the Irish Tricolor, Ireland's National Flag is distinguished by its green, white, and orange color scheme. According to tradition, the green color symbolizes Ireland's ancient Gaelic culture and society. While the orange symbolizes William of Orange's Protestant followers and his triumph at the War of the Boyne.
The center strip of white represents the desire for harmony between these two civilizations. It was hoisted publicly for the first time on March 7th 1848 by Thomas Francis Meagher, it was not until the 1916 Easter Rising that the national flag came to be recognized as Ireland's national flag when it was raised over the GPO in Dublin.
Famine Ships Symbol
The Famine was a defining moment in Irish history. This was the beginning of the enormous 'Irish Emigration,' particularly to America. The Famine Ships provided hope for a brighter future, and thousands embarked from Irish beaches, confronting an uncertain destiny. Those fleeing the horrors of hunger were forced into overcrowded disease-ridden ships with hardly any exposure with even the most essential food and clean water.
Unfortunately for many on board, the hope of a new life devolved into a nightmare. Hundreds perished on the crowded and under-supplied ships. As a result, they are dubbed coffin ships, as up to 1 in 5 or more passengers die before arriving at their destination.
The beauty and story behind these symbols are engraved and designed through the symbols we wear today. The Celtic Knot showcasing that there are no ends and that the beginning of the adventure is all a part of our existence. The Claddagh showcasing love, loyalty and friendship which is pretty evident in the symbols shared, and so much more.
Each piece designed at Celtic Knot Jewelry & Co. is a direct representation of what we believe in and practice throughout our Celtic and Irish heritage. Let’s embrace our roots today as we wear pieces that embody these practices. Visit our store and let’s share our traditions with the rest of the world.