As in most cultures, a traditional Irish birthday blessing has historical roots. It can be seen as a way to boost the spirits, ward off bad luck, offer a gift (of words) ... or just to get a laugh on somebody's birthday!
Whatever your reason, you'll find a a great list of birthday blessings from Ireland below. Be creative about how you use them - in spoken words, on party napkins greeting cards or invitations, you get the idea!
To wish somebody a happy birthday in Gaelic, all you need to say is
La Breithe Shona Dhuit!
Lá breithe faoi shonas!
(Birthday under Happiness)
One humorous way to toast somebody having a birthday is to refer to age and health. But make sure you choose the moment wisely! Here are some examples:
May the doctor never earn a pound out of you
May you have a long life, a wet mouth and may you be buried in Ireland.
May you live to be 100 years with one extra year to repent.
We drink to your coffin. May it be built from the wood of a hundred year old oak tree that I shall plant tomorrow.
May the good Lord take a liking to you. But not too soon!
May you die in bed at 95, shot by a jealous spouse.
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you're going, and the insight to know when you've gone too far!
This blessing might be something a mother or father says to their child on their birthday, either when they wake up or when they go to bed. This particular blessing always ends with the line ‘bless you’ after each line.
When the first light of sun
When the long day is done
In your smiles and your tears
Through each day of your years
Irish blessings about living a long and happy life are also very common on birthdays. Here is one of our favorites.
May you live a long life
Full of gladness and health
With a pocket full of gold
As the least of your wealth
May the dreams you hold dearest
Be those which come true
May the kindness you spread
Keep returning to you.
And here is another...
May you be blessed with warmth in your home,
love in your heart,
peace in your soul
and joy in your life.
Some are humorous, some serious, all full of Irish wit and wisdom!
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