Irish Tradition – The St Brigid’s Cross

St Brigid's Crosses, Fresh

St Brigid’s Crosses

Happy St Brigid’s Day from all in Ireland. On February 1, we mark the feast of one of our patron saints and the only female one, Bridget. Patrick, not even born in Ireland and Columba, who was sent into exile, are the other two! In true Irish style, her name appears in many forms : Brigid, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd, Brigid and Bride  and Biddy.

Born in Faughart, County Louth in about 451A.D Bridget founded several monasteries and is most associated with Kildare. Faughart celebrates Bridget in a big way as can be seen from this wonderful blogpost from  Louise of Pilgrimage in Medieval Ireland. Click here to read more.

My favourite Irish tradition is the one of the Brigid’s Cross, made usually on the day before the feast day and then placed above the door or poked behind a picture to protect the house from all bad things for the following year.  Simple and elegant, the swastika shaped cross is woven from a few rushes, found in almost every field in Ireland.

Saint_Brigid's_cross

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16 Comments

Filed under Celebrations in Ireland, Ireland, Irish Culture, Irish Heritage, Living in Ireland

16 responses to “Irish Tradition – The St Brigid’s Cross

  1. Have to love this, even though I’m a Bridget…

  2. Happy St.Bridget’s day! :) We make Biddy Dolls with the kids – do you have that tradition too?

    • Hi there – Thank you ! I never heard of Biddy dolls – do tell us !

      • The Biddy is a personification of Bridget – we believe she visits houses tonight so we make a little bed up for her and put the doll inside to represent her, put some food and drink out too. We make the Biddy by wrapping a piece of pretty white cotton fabric around a sea shell (the head) and secure with ribbon, string or elastic band. I think others make their Biddies from corn too. :)

      • I have not heard of this before – thank you for the enlightenment! Biddy is of course yet another very common name for Bridget.(My Dad had an Aunt Biddy!) I wonder if this practice of the Biddy dolls has more to do with the goddess Bridget, who preceded the christian St Bridget in Ireland? See my post at http://thesilvervoice.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/saint-brigid-and-imbolg/ Where are you located ?

      • Yes, I’m certain it is more linked to the goddess than the saint, – our heritage is extremely mixed (and so our spirituality a little unique.. mainly Roma (a mystic brand of Catholicism) / Scottish Celt) we also celebrate Mary and the return of the corn goddess around this time too. (We’re located in the British Isles – anywhere at any given moment! ) … sounds a mess doesn’t it, I bet you are sorry you asked! ;)

  3. Pingback: TODAYS HOLIDAY: ST. BRIDGET’S DAY | euzicasa

  4. Brigid didn’t figure in our Birmingham Catholic primary school – maybe she was just a home bird!

  5. Used to sit among the rushes and make these crosses while visiting Ireland as a young child. Fond memories…
    God bless. –Linda

  6. Hadn`t heard of the Biddy doll either, until reading through the comments here. Nor did I hear of Bridget`s skull being in Portugal. But that`s what I love about your blog:there`s always great learning in it.

  7. I like the idea of a natural cross tucked in to protect the house – wish I had one. You always share something new for me!

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