Saint Brigid a.k.a. The Mary of the Gael

Her day: February 1 First Day of Spring -New Year's day for the Farmers
the beginning of Imbolc: Season of light (alternate spellings- Brighid, Brigid)
Brigid means Fiery Arrow
She is patroness of cattle and of dairy work-ale.

 1. A day to look for weather signs-a hedgehog a good weather sign if he stays out of his burrow.

 2. Do only essential work on the day and go to the local shrine to pray.

 3. Take stock of the household supplies-will it last till harvest?

 4. Clean the house.

 5. Make a special dinner for St. Brighids Eve.

 6. Make a Bairin-breac-yeast cake with fruit (aka barm brack) for the eve and invite the neighbors in.

 7. Make fresh butter - Brigid is closely associated with the dairy.

 8. A day for the wealthy to give food to the poor.

 9. St. Brigid traveled the countryside, blessing households, with her white red-eared cow.

 10. You need to show her welcome: place bread and fresh butter on the window sill outside, also put out a sheaf of corn for the cow, put out rushes for her to kneel on to bless the household, set the table in the kitchen on the eve.

 11. Make the cros Bride or bogha Bride (St. Brigids Cross). These crosses are made of rushes-but vary in materials and somewhat in design from region to region (main page for cross link).

 12.The cross should be hung in the thatch roof of the house or above the door, and if you dont have a roof-apartment-on the inside of the front door.

 13. Cross material should be blessed.Crosses are left in place for a full year to be renewed on the day.

 14. A large oat bread cake, a Strone,Strohn, or Brigid's Bread (See main page food links)  in the shape of a wheat sheaf or cross is made, blessed by the priest and eaten.

 15. Often a door ceremony is held with a person, usually the eldest daughter, representing the saint knocking and asking to be let in. She says - Go on your knees, open your eyes, and let Brighid in. Answered by from within: Greeting,greeting to the noble woman.

 16.After perhaps Mary, Brigid is the most common name for girls in Ireland - it is shortened to Bridie (pronounced bri dee). (Bride in English however comes from the German; although many think otherwise, the linguists insist on a German root.)

 17. On the eve the Bridie Boys go out with an effigy of the saint called the Brideog - a doll dressed in white. They pick up the offerings of bread and of butter left out. (In some areas the Brideog was the most pure girl of the village.)

 18. A piece of white cloth is hung outside the front door.

 19.Those coming around would say something like this: Something for poor Biddy! Her clothes are torn
Her shoes are worn
Something for poor Biddy

or Here is Briget dressed in white
Give her a penny for her night
She is deaf, she is dumb
She cannot talk without a tongue.
or Here comes Brigid dressed in white
Giver her something for the night
She is deaf, she is dumb
For Gods sake give her some.

 20. A silk ribbon is left out for the Saint to bless; it is used to cure illness. It is called the ribin Brighid - St.Brigids Ribbon. 21. To say over the cross:

 Brighids Girdle is my girdle,
The Girdle with the four crosses.
Arise housewife
And go out three times.
May whoever goes through my girdle
Be seven times better a year from now

. 22.The leftover materials from the cross were used to bless the animals as bedding and feed.

 23. On St Brigids day the lark was a good omen of Spring.

 24. The dandelion is spoken of as Brigids Flower.

 25. Hoar frost(thick frost) gathered specially on the day can be used to cure headache.

 26. There are many wells dedicated to the saint from which water is drawn and used for blessings on the day.

 27. Brigid is famous for brewing ale and for distributing it -so ale is a part of the celebration

 28.The farm animals should be especially well taken care of on the day.

 For foods of the day see the recipes section-

SOURCE:Danaher,Kevin.The Year In Ireland.

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