Today is the first day of Spring and is also St. Brigid’s Day.
Saint Brigid 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. Crosses can be given to neighbours and friends as presents. They make for a creative Irish gift. Placing a cross above the door is a welcome to visitors. The crosses are also thought to protect the home and its’ inhabitants
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 coud 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.
When St. Bridget died her body was brought to Downpatrick in Ulster and she was buried beside St. Patrick. As the years went by the memory of holiness remained and she was held in great honour. Many of the stories told about her may have been invented after her death but this shows us that she must have a great person indeed who had made a great impression during her lifetime. You can visit the tomb St. Patrick in Downpatrick, Co. Down.
Brigid wove a cross of rushes by a dying chieftain’s bed”
“Brigid what is that you’re making
From the rushes there?”, he said.
Brigid said,”A cross I’m weaving, like the cross where Jesus died.”
“Who was Jesus?” asked the chieftain,
“Why was this man crucified?”
Brigid told the gospel story to a dying pagan King.
Lying silently he listened,
Never saying anything.
Then he kissed the cross of rushes
Saying ,”Brigid, thanks to you,
I have come to love this Jesus,
I will follow his way too!”
The children coloured some lovely St Brigid’s crosses and cloaks at school today.
We had a nice St Brigid’s cloak displayed on our Scared Space.
Mr Mulroe’s fourth class Room 5 were very adventurous and made St Brigid’s crosses from rushes. They did a super job !!
How to make a St Brigid’s Cross
- Hold one of the reeds vertically. Fold a second reed in half.
- Place the first vertical reed in the centre of the folded second reed.
- Hold the centre overlap tightly between thumb and forefinger.
- Turn the two rushes held together 90 degrees anti-clockwise so that the open ends of the second reed are pointing vertically upwards.
- Fold a third reed in half and over both parts of the second reed to lie horizontally from left to right against the first straw. Hold tight.
- Holding the centre tightly, turn the three reeds 90 degrees anti-clockwise so that the open ends of the third reed are pointing upwards.
- Fold a new reed in half over and across all the rushes pointing upwards.
- Repeat the process of rotating all the rushes 90 degrees anti-clockwise, adding a new folded reed each time until all rushes 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 Brigid’s Cross is now ready to hang.