Happy Brigid's Day everyone.
This is the Celtic holiday of Imbolc, St Brigid's Day and the first day of the Celtic Spring.
Last night I got a lovely text from my friend Joanna about a tradition around St Brigid that I'd never heard of before.... She wrote:
On St Brigid's Eve, don't forget to put out the Bratóg Bríde (Brigid's little cloak) (Bríde pronounced breed) overnight. It's a piece of cloth, scarf or ribbon which St Bridget would bless in passing. The bratóg would help wearers with headaches and sore throats throughout the year to come.
I didn't manage to get out yesterday to gather rushes to make a Brigid's Cross for today - perhaps I'll still do it later in the day. It was a very strong tradition when I was growing up and many in this area are keeping the tradition alive. I loved the symbol of that cross, the symbol of the cycle of the year, continuing regardless.
Brigid was the goddess of the hearth, fertility and creativity among many other things. Her presence and power was so strong that she was adopted as a Saint by the Catholic Church as Christianity spread through Ireland in the 5th and 6th centuries. Now there are many festivals around the country that celebrate all aspects of the woman, the goddess and the saint.
I was looking for a piece of music I'd once heard to share with you but came across this lovely video instead .... posted by a blog which no longer seems to be active - nefaeriaofetsy.blogspot.com
The music is beautiful - a mix from Loreena McKennitt and some other voices - but there is lots of information about Brigid the Goddess and her place in Celtic Mythology, about Brigid the Saint and her place in the Christian church and lastly about Imbolc. If you're interested in folklore you might find this an entertaining read. At the end it also gives a list of sources for the information.