Friday, February 01, 2008

Saint Bridgid's Day

There’s an accordion band named after her, hundreds of churches, dozens of schools, several colleges, a well, a sports team or two, songs and hymns, and several roads. One of her shoes is in the national museum of Ireland, and she’s got a myspace page. Today, the first of February, is the feast day of Saint Bridgid.

Bridgid was a contemporary of Saint Patrick, and as with the stories about him, over the decades and centuries her life and work have become entwined with legend, both Christian and pagan. She is, among other things, known as the patron saint of poetry, fire, and song, and there’s a cross woven of rushes with a characteristic shape of a square center that’s become a common Irish symbol and is known as Saint Bridgid’s cross. The symbol itself dates back to pre Christian days, as does the celebration of her feast day as the first day of spring in Ireland -- a day that’s more often accompanied by snow and rain than by spring like weather, but which does mark the turing of days from shorter to longer times of daylight.

Bridgid is the patron saint of Kildare, where she founded an abbey. She was born in Louth, where a well bears her name, and founded convents in Roscommon and Armagh, as well as other places. The churches, roads, schools, and sports teams are found, as the saying goes, wherever green is worn, from Australia to the Yukon.

here’s an article commenting on the pagan a Christian stories about Saint Bridgid...and did you know the word for jazz has its origins in Irish?

here, how to weave a Saint Bridgid's cross

Phil Cunnngham on accordion and Cathie Ryan on vocals on the hymn to Saint Bridgid, Gabhaim molta Bhrigide, sung in Irish.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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