Sunday, 2 February 2014

Imbolg and Brigit's Day

Lá Fhéile Bríde shona dóibh go léir - Happy Brigit’s day to you all.

The snowdrops in our garden arrived in time for Imbolg and the storms abated enough to allow me to wade into the Lough Field next door to gather reeds for the Brigit's Crosses.

The St. Brigit's Cross, which many consider to be a solar symbol connected to the Goddess Brigit / Bríde, was made for protection against fire, storm, lightning and illness and was in the past condoned by some priests and condemned as superstition by others. 

They are still made by women across Ireland to protect the home and family and hung above the front door or hearth.

Today the well known four-armed cross below is most popular but in times past the design of crosses varied depending upon where you lived and could be made from straw, rushes or reeds.

Four-armed Brigid's Cross originally made in Co. Leitrim.

Three-armed Brigit's Cross.
The three-armed cross was traditionally made in Co. Donegal or in other parts of the island where it was made to be hung in the byre to protect the animals.

Woven cross originating from Co. Derry.

In some areas last year's Brigit's Cross was taken down but usually the old crosses were left in place and a new one added so that it was common to see several pinned to the underside of a thatched roof.

A new cross now hangs above our hearth and the Goddess Brigit protects and blesses our home again.