Bridget's Eve

Thanks to Anne for this article written 31st January 2019.

Remember to put a Brat Bríd out on Bridget’s Eve, 31st January.

The Brat Bríd - a piece of cloth - is placed on a window sill, fence or tree branch on the 31st January (the night before St. Brigid’s day) and left overnight. The belief was that during the night St. Bridget would bless the cloth. This cloth would be used for healing and fertility and throughout the year.

Different parts of the country on the tradition have different colours. It can be either white, blue or red, I have both a red and white one I put out. The main thing is that it's a piece of cloth. Some people put out ribbons or strips of cloth

This cloth would be used for fertility and for curing illness throughout the year.

Bridget wanders over the land during the night, offering her fertility and the energy to birth a new Spring. Everything she touches will be blessed and in the early morning we see evidence of that blessing as Bridget’s Day Dew or Frost.

Another Bridget’s Eve custom - all of the family made special crosses in honour of the saint. The Bridget’s crosses were hung over the doorway to ensure protection of the household, farm and land against fire, storm and illness.

In some parts of Connacht, people would carry a large straw belt (a Crios Bríde) which was placed in the doorway and people would pass through it while saying a prayer to St. Bridget, in the hope of gaining her protection from illness during the coming year. The crios bride or Bridget’s Girdle is a straw rope with a number of crosses plaited in straw attached to it.

I remember reading that there were different ways for men and women to pass through the cross. I’ll see if I can find that info and add it to this.

Throughout Ireland, there are many holy wells dedicated to St. Brigid and it was traditional to visit these either the evening before or on her feast day. Water obtained at this time, was believed to be particularly blessed.

(This photo montage is of her well at Faughart taken by Pat in 2017)

Interesting Bridget's day information from Scottish point of view -

Making a Dealbh Brìde

One of the central celebrations to Là Fhèill Brìghde is the making of the brìdeag or dealbh Brìde – the ‘Little Brìde’, or ‘icon of Brìde’ as it is called in Scotland, or the brídeóg as it called in Ireland. The brìdeag or brídeóg was usually made by girls (although in parts of Ireland, boys also made and then paraded them), where as in Scotland, the dealbh Brìde was made by the older (married) women of the house.

A Hebridean House Blessing chant March 27, 2011 from: The Sun Dances : Prayers and Blessings from the Gaelic, Alexander Carmichael

May Brigit give blessing to the house that is here…
Brigit, the fair and tender, her hue like the cotton grass.
Rich-tressed maiden, of ringlets of gold; Both crest and frame, Both stone and beam; Both clay and wattle; Both summit and foundation; Both window and timber; Both foot and head; Both man and woman; Both wife and children; Both young and old; Both maiden and youth.

More information on the first days of February written by Anne - Click here for lst February and click here for 2nd February - Candlemas

Click here for information on St Blaise and the Blessing of the Throats, part of the rituals at this time of year.

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Anne is sharing a series of events throughout the year - you can find them listed by clicking to the link Other Notable Dates and Festivals.