The significance of St. Brigid’s /Brigit’s Cross
One of the most widespread Irish customs associated with St. Brigid/ Brigit is the making of the Cros Bríde ( St Brigid’s Cross) which may have originated as a sun symbol. In St. Brigid’s time, it was customary for rushes to be strewn on the floor of a dwelling.
Legend tells us that one day, Brigid/ Brigit visited a pagan chieftain who was on his deathbed. As she sat by his bed, she reached down and picked up some rushes from the floor and wove them into a cross. The chieftain asked what she was doing and she told him about the significance of the Christain cross and how Jesus had died to save all people, including him.
He was overcome by the idea that he could be loved so much and was converted to Christianity before he died.
St Brigid’s/ Brigit’s Cross
Is traditionally woven on St. Brigid’s Eve and placed in the home, usually over the door, to bless all who come in or go out, and to gain protection of the household from fire and disease. In some parts of Ireland, as they hung up the cross they said this prayer:
“May the blessing of God and the Trinity be on this cross, and on the home where it hangs and on everyone who looks at it”
Often, a cross would be placed in the cow byre to protect the animals and to keep the milk flowing. It became, in some places, a symbol of peace and good will, and was offered as an indication of a desire for friendship after a local quarel.
The cross has endured from generation to generation, surviving times of great persecution, oppression and hunger.
Text from “Rekindling the Flame” by Rita Minehan.Available from our online shop
A variety of St Brigid’s Crosses are available from our online shop