Who was St. Brigid and why is she inspiring many 1,500 years after her death? https://t.co/tUwnOSLeUC
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 27, 2024
Technically, the cross-quarter holiday between the winter solstice and the spring equinox is February 2nd (that’s why Groundhog Day), but sometimes everybody just needs an excuse for a day off. (No MLK Day in Ireland.) And the confusion between an ancient pagan deity and a (probably) historical saint is very, very culturally Irish… never let a mingy grey ‘truth’ stand in the way of a bold brilliant STORY!
Per the Associated Press, “Who was St. Brigid and why is she inspiring many 1,500 years after her death?”:
Devotees of St. Brigid celebrated her Sunday with the return of a relic associated with the so-called matron saint of Ireland. The festivities came about a millennium after her remains were removed from the town of Kildare, where she founded a prestigious abbey and inspired a host of colorful, miracle-filled legends.
The celebration in her hometown, southwest of Dublin, is part of Brigid 1500 — a series of observances across the world centered around the saint’s feast day of Feb. 1, marking the 1,500th anniversary of her death around the year 524.
In a sense, Brigid is on a roll. The commemorations come a year after Ireland began honoring her with an annual public holiday — the first Irish woman to be recognized with one.
While St. Patrick has long been the saint most identified with Ireland, Brigid has gained a growing following in the 21st century. Devotees draw inspiration from Brigid the saint — and from Brigid the ancient pagan goddess, whose name and attributes she shares — as emblematic of feminine spirituality and empowerment. This comes amid growing disenchantment with the patriarchal and historically dominant Catholic Church…
Several events are being organized this week by Solas Bhride, Irish for “Light of Brigid,” including a noontime “Pause for Peace” on Thursday. Thousands of students plan to mark the pause by making a human formation of a large St. Brigid’s Cross, shaped by a square with four symmetrical arms.
Others around the world are joining in the pause — a minute’s silence at noon local time — said Brigidine Sister Rita Minehan, one of the founders of Solas Bhride.
“We are sending out a message that we actively oppose warfare in our world and the proliferation of arms,” she said. “It’s rather frightening what’s happening in our world. It’s sorely in need of peace, and Brigid was renowned as a peacemaker.”
The group Herstory, which uses arts and education to promote female role models, plans events around Ireland on the holiday and days afterward. These include lightshows in which artistic depictions of Brigid are projected onto historic landmarks.
Elsewhere worldwide, Irish-heritage groups plan to mark the day with cultural events. Churches plan Masses in honor of the saint, while Wiccan and other pagan groups plan meditations and other ceremonies in honor of the goddess.
Speaking of halfway to Spring…
— Bloomberg (@business) January 31, 2024