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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

St BRIDGET"S DAY February 1st

St. Brigid is the patroness of cattle, dairy work, and ale and today is her feast day. It is also the first day of Spring or Imbolc, a pagan celebration associated with fertility and weather divination. Imbolc is Gaelic fothe season of light and before Christianity came to Ireland Brigid was worshipped as a Celtic fertility goddess  associated with fire, healing, and holy wells. Was the 5th century nun from Kildare named after her? Or are they the same person....the pagan diety transformed into a Christian saint to appease a population reluctant to give up the goddess who ruled over the most essential things of life.  Things to do today1. Look for hedgehogs who have decided to wake up from hibernation. It is a good weather sign - but the frost looks a bit thick this morning to tempt any out of their burrow.  [This is the origin of Groundhog Day in America celebrated on February 2nd.] 2. Do only essential work today and go to the local shrine to pray. (and where is that? Well, St Brigid is the patron saint of ale...)
 3. Take stock of the household supplies (so go after sorting out the freezer)
 4. Clean the house...(I think this is unfair. If it is a woman's festival it should be: get the house cleaned by someone else, preferably male)
 5. Because St. Brigid traveled the countryside with her red-eared cow, make her welcome by placing bread and fresh butter on the window sill outside; also put out a sheaf of corn for the cow and put out rushes for her to kneel on when she blesses the household. Last night (St Brigid's Eve) you should have set the table in the kitchen to make her feel welcome.
 6. Leave a silk ribbon outside for St. Brigid to bless; it is used to cure illness.
 7. Make the bogha Bride (St. Brigid's Cross). Though a Christian symbol, St. Brigid's Cross might come from the pagan sunwheel. It is made from rushes or straw saved from last year's harvest. Put it above a door because it is supposed to protect the house from fire and evil.
Beannachtaí lá le Bríde dhuit!
[Photo](Thanks to the Anam Care Blog - see the link in the right hand column -  for much of this information and reminding me this morning that today is MY day)


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