Who Was Saint Brigid
Along with Saint Patrick and Saint Columba, Saint Brigid is one of Ireland’s patron saints. Her feast day falls on the 1st of February. She is revered as a early leader of the early Christian Church in Ireland and is said to have performed many healing miracles.
Was Saint Brigid a Pagan Goddess
It is no coincidence that Saint Brigid’s Day falls on Imbolc, the Pagan Festival marking the first day of Spring. The term Imbolc derives from the old Irish ‘i mbolg’ meaning in the belly, a time when cattle began to lactate and sheep lambed, grass began to grow. So, the goddess was associated with fertility and the lighter half of the year. It was also a time when winter stores were running low, so divine rituals were performed to ensure a steady supply of food until the autumn harvest.
Traditions Associated with Saint Brigid
This is St Brigid dressed in white
Give her something for the night
She is deaf, she is dumb
Give her money if you have some
On Saint Brigid’s Day the boys and girls of a parish used to go around the houses with dressed up doll called a bridogue asking for money for Saint Brigid. The money raised was put towards a party later that that evening to which everyone was invited.
There are many ancient healing traditions associated with Saint Bridget. On St. Brigid’s Eve it was the custom to leave a ribbon outside to be blessed by the saint as she passed. Known as a ‘Bratog Bride, this special garment would be carefully kept for the year and was wrapped around the head when needed as a cure for headaches.
Indeed, at the many holy wells found throughout Ireland dedicated to Saint Bridget, you will find rag trees, usually of hawthorn, where votive offerings to the saint are attached.
What is a Saint Brigid’s Cross
The origins of the cross certainly date back to pagan times. The Christian tradition says that Saint was called to the deathbed of a local pagan chieftain. As he lay dying, she wove rushes found on the floor into a cross and began to explain the significance of the cross. Upon hearing the story of Christ, the chieftain asked to be baptized before his death.
A traditional cross is made from woven rushes and is kept in houses to protect from fire and other misfortune.
We have a great selection of Saint Brigit’s cross pendants and necklaces featured in our store.
Saint Brigit at Kildare
The Saint is most associated with the town of Kildare where she founded a monastery in the 5th Century. The Norman chronicler, Gerald of Wales, reported in the 12th century that a company of nuns attended an ‘inextinguishable’ fire at Kildare in St Brigid’s honor. Although it had been kept burning for 500 years, the fire had produced no ash. Men were not allowed near the fire!