St Brigid’s Day which is celebrated on the 1st of February is associated with the making, blessing and giving of Brigid’s crosses. Saint Brigid’s Day, or Lá Fhéile Bríde in Irish marks the start of longer days.
The best known Brigid’s tradition is the making and giving of Brigid’s crosses. This tradition is based on a legend about Saint Brigid which tells us that she converted a dying Pagan. To explain the new faith to him, she improvised making a cross from rushes which was all that was available to her in the location. She made it from fresh rushes which are plentiful in Ireland. As she worked she explained the meaning of the cross to the sick man. Her calming words brought peace to his soul. The chieftan’s fever broke, and he grew quiet. Captivated by her lesson of love and enlightenment, the old chieftan was baptized as a christian, just before his death.
St Brigid was very holy and she wanted to build a church where people could come and pray to God. She found the perfect place in County Kildare and went to the King of Leinster to ask him for land. The king was a very greedy man and didn’t want to give her any land. In the end he said she could have the amount of land that her cloak covered. When she laid her cloak on the ground it grew until she had acres to build her church upon.
Mr Mulroe’s third class made St Brigid’s crosses from rushes.
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