The Irish Grushie Or Wedding Scramble – A Celtic Tradition

The Grushie or Wedding Scramble is a wedding tradition which comes to us probably from Scotland originally; Possibly, when they were seeking refuge in Ireland during one of their many wars with England. Before that, the influence was likely purely Irish, which was a favored place to hide from the English, lick their wounds and regroup. Prior to this, the tradition may have it’s influence from Rome. The Roman wedding tradition of paying by coin at various steps in the proceedings probably held some influence here. Since it was Rome who first brought the concept of coin to the Celtic tribes as a means of trying to corrupt them economically, this may have transmuted an earlier Celtic tradition.

The word Grushie in Scots means ‘healthy and thriving’, so in truth, this tradition is about prosperity and getting the bride and groom off to a good start. The best way to do that is by giving back a little. At the end of the ceremony as the bride and groom are to step into the carriage, the bride will throw her bouquet to see who may indeed be the next lucky bride.

Well for the men, there is the Grushie, which was traditionally a handful of coins tossed alongside the bouquet. The person who tossed it was generally related to the groom, his father, elder brother, sometimes the Best Man and even upon occasion the groom himself. There are different traditions for different places and times. Some places require thirteen coins; some require the highest denomination that can be readily afforded, while others recommend the least amount in denomination but the most in quantity. There are even some tales which talk about throwing bags of coins (small though they may be) while others sometimes talked of gifting them as party favors for each guest.

Today, Modern Grushies have survived and are often aimed at the children, where like a pinata falling, handfuls of candy, coins and small toys are tossed for them to scamper after, which is likely why in Scotland this tradition is now called a Scramble.

No matter what the source for this custom was, it is a useful and supportive tradition. It supports the cycle of prosperity for all concerned so in that sense it goes beyond merely the happy couple and moves into the wider community. In this sense it is also an honoring for the place and for the energies therein, always a strong sentiment for Celts of all tribes and affiliations.