St Brigid’s Day – Lá Fhéile Bhride – How to make St Brigid’s CrossJanuary 28, 2019
St Brigid (Muire na nGael – Mary of the Gael) is the second patron saint of Ireland. Her feast day (Lá Fhéile Bhride) falls on the 1st of February. This day was originally a pagan festival called Imbolc (meaning “in the belly”) which marked the beginning of spring.
St Brigid was born in Faughart, Dundalk, Co. Louth in A.D. 450.
She founded many convents, the most famous of which are in Kildare.
St Brigid’s Cross
There are many traditions and customs associated with St Brigid’s day one of which is the St Brigid’s Cross (or Bogha Bríde). Traditionally, a new cross is made each year on St Brigid’s Eve, January 31st and the old one burned to ward off fire, hunger and evil. In olden days the crosses were not burned but instead preserved in thatched roofs, as fire would have been a huge concern for houses with thatched roofs.
The most recognisable cross is the four-armed cross which was used as RTÉ’s emblem when it started broadcasting in 1961. Rushes are mainly used to make the crosses, but straw and reeds can also used. It was a tradition to give a St Brigid’s cross as a gift for a new home to protect the home from harm.
The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life have a very easy to follow youtube video on how to make this type of cross.
Please click on the following link to view:
St Brigid was known for her generosity to the poor and there are many miracles associated with her. Some of these included driving the Wildcat species from Ireland, turning water into beer and stilling the rain and wind by her prayers.
St Brigid is the patron saint of many people including babies, blacksmiths, boatmen, cattle, chicken farmers, dairymaid, dairy workers, fugitives, infants, mariners, sailors and scholars.
She died in AD 525 aged 75 years. She was buried in a tomb at the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral. Later, her remains were exhumed and transferred to Downpatrick and laid to rest with two other patron saints of Ireland, St Patrick and St Columcille.