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….