Imbolc or Imbolg, also called Brigid’s Day, and Saint Brigid’s Day is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. Saint Brigid’s Day is also called: Lá Fhéile Bríde (Irish), Là Fhèill Brìghde (Scottish Gaelic)
Saint Brigid’s Day – February 1st
This feast day is held on 1 February, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Saint Brigid of Ireland, whose feast day is February 1st, led a fascinating life. Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland is one of Ireland’s patron saints, along with Patrick and Columbia. Irish hagiography makes her an early Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare in Ireland, which was famous and was revered.
Saint Brigid, You were a woman of peace. You brought harmony where there was conflict. You brought light to the darkness. You brought hope to the downcast. May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious, and may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world. Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made. Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary. Strengthen what is weak within us. Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens. May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.
What is a St Bridget’s Cross?
This beautiful cross known as a St. Brigid’s Cross is a wonderful tribute to Ireland’s beloved saint. Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland is one of Ireland’s patron saints, along with Saint Patrick. Saint Brigid was born Brigit, and shares a name with a Celtic goddess from whom many legends and folk customs are associated.
Making a Saint Bridget’s Cross is a custom in Ireland. The St Bridget’s Cross is made out of plants called rushes (Juncus effusus) for hanging above the entrances to dwellings to invoke the help of St Bridget in warding off disease. St Bridget’s Day is celebrated on the 1st February each year and the crosses are made at that time. Rushes were traditionally used to make the St Bridget’s Cross. These were collected from wetlands and cut into pieces, 8-12 inches long. Rushes can be hard to get for city dwellers so ordinary paper environmentally friendly drinking straws and rubber are a good substitute to make with children.
You can watch an IPCC video showing you how to make a cross. Please follow this link.
If You Can’t Get Rushes You Will Need
- 9 paper environmentally friendly drinking straws
- 4 small rubber bands
What to Do
- Hold one of the straws vertically. Fold a second straw in half as in the diagram.
- Place the first vertical straw in the center of the folded second straw.
- Hold the center overlap tightly between thumb and forefinger.
- Turn the two straws held together 90 degrees counter clockwise so that the open ends of the second straw are projecting vertically upwards.
- Fold a third straw in half and over both parts of the second straw to lie horizontally from left to right against the first straw. Hold tight.
- Holding the center tightly, turn the three straws 90 degrees counter clockwise so that the open ends of the third straw are pointing upwards.
- Fold a new straw in half over and across all the staws pointing upwards.
- Repeat the process of rotating all the straws 90 degrees counter clockwise, adding a new folded straw each time until all nine straws have been used up to make the cross.
- Secure the arms of the cross with elastic bands. Trim the ends to make them all the same length. The St Bridget’s Cross is now ready to hang.