Feb 1, 2012

Happy St. Brigid's Day

February 1, St. Brigid's Day, Imbolc in the Celtic calendar, and Ground Hog's Day (Feb. 2) in the U.S., are associated with the arrival of spring. It certainly feels like spring where I am, although that might not last.

Traditionally, school children in Ireland weave a new St. Brigid's Day cross on this day. The cross has an odd shape, at least to the non Irish. Some say it's shaped like a wheel and indicates the four seasons.

St. Brigid is said to have woven these, and at the end of my novel she weaves one (but you'll have to read it to find out why!)

In my book Celtic Wisdom, I talk a bit these crosses. "In some parts of Ireland children weave the crosses on the eve of the Feast of St. Brigid and distribute them to their neighbours. Each year a fresh cross is hung over the doors of homes and barns or placed in the rafters in remembrance of the story and to ask God's blessing and protection. Historically, in some places the old crosses were destroyed or hung elsewhere in the house, but in many places they remained in the rafters and the age of the house could be determined by counting the crosses."

I would love to hear your thoughts on St. Brigid's Day. Today I'll be making some more crosses to giveaway (straw ones) and baking some bread--brown bread or Irish soda bread, haven't decided yet.

Here is a link to my St. Brigid post on the Irish Fireside. Don't miss the video there on how to weave a cross.

Also from Celtic Wisdom:

Sweet heaven's smile
Gleamed o'er the Isle,
That gems the dreary sea,
One far gone day,
And flash'd its ray,
More than a thousand years away,
Pure Bridget, over thee.
~Rev. Abram J. Ryan, From St. Brigid, Patroness of Ireland, Translated by Joseph A. Knowles


  1. A blessed feast day to you! †

    Thank you for posting the link. I'm glad to see the video, as the one I had posted to my blog several years ago is no longer in service.

  2. I would love to read your books but I am from Eastern Europe, where do you think is the closest place where I can get any of them? As I might already have told I am fascinated with Celtic culture and love to visit your blog and get a little taste of it from time to time.

    1. I replied below, but I'm commenting here just in case you didn't get notified.

  3. Ireland traveler: the books are actually published in Oxford, England. Any bookshop should be abe to order them or go to www.lionhudson.com and inquire. Can you order from Amazon? Thanks for reading the blog! :)

    Amy, good to hear from you!

  4. Hey, Cindy,

    As always, I love reading little tidbits I had not known before. I knew about the weaving of and replacing of the crosses, but I didn't know some people left them up and you could age their house by the number of crosses. That's a tradition I may have to incorporate with my son. Tonight we are lighting a candle in honor of St. Bridgit.


    1. Thanks, David. There are many more things I could talk about. More later, I guess. Thanks for dropping by!

  5. As a never-reformed ex-elem. art teacher :-) I see much beauty in the simple design of the St. Brigid cross and its value as a traditional "folk art" design. And of course, the significance of Christ's resurrection gives its design a hallowed reverence. Thanks, Cindy, for keeping me informed on this part of my heritage. (I have Irish Duttons in my lineage and need to learn more about that segment of my family.)
    In 1963, I first learned about St.Patrick's Day (beyond green construction paper shamrocks) when my new best friend informed me of the importance of wearing green that day. I was clueless about the history, so she informed me. And since I just moved back to my hometown, that same friend & I will be chatting over coffee this St. Patrick's Day. We will be sure to buy green cookies and make it an official celebration:-) Kathy