St Brigid’s Day

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Today, 1st February is St Brigid’s Day in Ireland. If St Patrick is our national saint, then Brigid is Ireland’s patroness. It seems that girls were either named Mary or Brigid in days gone by in Ireland. I still hear the name Brigid among Irish Americans, but rarely in Ireland these days.

Anyway, I remember back in my primary school days we always made the traditional  St Brigid’s crosses in class. The story goes that during one of her travels, St Brigid went to visit a dying pagan chief. As she sat near his bed, she picked up some rushes on the floor and began weaving a cross. When he asked her what she was doing, she told him about the meaning of the cross and this led to his conversion to christianity.

St Brigid’s cross is made from rushes or reeds and traditionally is blessed with holy water and then hung in the kitchen all year, to be burned and replaced with a newly-woven cross on the next St Brigid’s day. I wonder if they are still made in schools anymore or hung in kitchens….

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11 responses »

  1. I remember making those crosses at home 40 years ago and we hung them from the picture of the Sacred Heart – such beautiful old traditions – sad to see them go.

  2. The First of February belongs to Brigid, (Brighid, Brigit, Bride,) the Celtic goddess who in later times became revered as a Christian saint. Originally, her festival on February 1 was known as Imbolc or Oimelc, two names which refer to the lactation of the ewes, the flow of milk that heralds the return of the life-giving forces of spring. Later, the Catholic Church replaced this festival with Candlemas Day on February 2, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and features candlelight processions. The powerful figure of Brigid the Light-Bringer overlights both pagan and Christian celebrations.

    Info from The Celtic Year..Brigid is the patron deity of my Celtic Birth Sign (Rowan in tree signs). Lovely to hear about this tradition! One of these days I’m going to get a piece of jewelry in the shape of the Brigid cross (I’ve seen them before).

  3. 2 of my neighbors on our corner of our small estate in Graignamanagh are named Brigid, so there are few alive and well in County Kilkenny 😉 And wasn’t it a wonderful, wonderful spring day here, too! Brigid saint & goddess smiled on us here– maybe because of the lovely ladies carrying her name 🙂

  4. Pingback: Imbolc / St. Brigid’s Day / Candlemas « Writing from Scotland

  5. Hello! Just a note to say that – in addition to referring to your St. Brigid’s Day post last October, which I see WordPress has found – I also have linked to it in my post today. Yes, it is a beautiful reminder of a tradition that we probably should never have lost.

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