Monday, February 1, 2016

How to Have a Happy St Brigid's Day With Irish Cooking and a Craft!


For us, St Brigid's Day begins the start of the Celtic Spring Season!

It is also the day that the Spring days start getting longer, with more daylight time! 

So It's definitely a day to celebrate!


Only the barest outline of Brigid's life is known, as there are few written facts. Her story has been embellished over and over the centuries. But what we do know is this:

She was born of noble parents (or at least a noble father) in Conaille Muirtheimhne and was well educated. She refused to marry when her parents so requested and instead took a vow of chastity before bishop Macccaille, a disciple of Patrick. 

In the years that followed, her personality, education, and holiness attracted so many men and women that she founded the great monastery of Kildare, “head of almost all the churches of Ireland and overtopping (like a mountain peak) all the monasteries of the Irish” ... somewhat similar to a double monastery. The women shared a common rule and a church with the men, but each monastery was autonomous. The men gave obedience to a bishop, the women to an abbess. They had separate entrances to the church, and the church had a high partition running down its length to keep each side hidden from the sight of the other. She also founded a school of art that included metalwork and illumination.

As Brigid’s reputation grew, demand for her direction increased and led to numerous monastic foundations for women throughout Ireland. Her contemporaries praised her charitable acts and hospitality, but it was her scholarship that impressed them the most. Her wisdom was sought after by the “most eminent persons”; >On occasion she exercised the clerical function of preaching to men...

 from Women and the Religious Life in Premodern Europe by Patricia Ranft 

st brigids cross and blessing

St Brigid is accredited with creating the unique cross that bears her name, which is normally made from rushes but occasionally from straw. The story of it's origin is that there was an old pagan Chieftain who lay delirious on his deathbed in Kildare, and Brigid came to his beside in the hope that she could calm him. Brigid sat by his bed, picked up the rushes from the floor and began weaving them into the distinctive cross pattern that we know today, as she was speaking with him about the meaning of the Christian cross, and through her words and actions, she brought peace to his soul, and converted him to Christianity, and he was baptized before he died.

Since that day and for the centuries that followed, it has been customary for the Irish faithful to fashion a St Brigid Cross of straw or rushes, and place it inside the house over the door. They are SUPER easy to make, and you can make them out of folded strips of paper, if you need to!


Miss Grace made the obe above on the way to school this morning, thats hiw quick theu are to make!

Check out these simple instructions:
(the tin whistle can be LOUD, be forewarned)



See?
Easy peasy, and a great craft to do together!
If you want to make a traditional St Brigid's day food, check out this recipe for Irish Boxty!
It's a great way to use up left over mashed potatoes from Sunday Supper, for Monday's dinner!
irish boxty

Mom always just used potatoes, a bit of flour and some green onion and a touch of spice, but you'll find every Irish family has their 'own (family)'  way of making boxty!
What is your family's way of making them?

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