St. Brigid’s Day
February 18, 2013
Ireland has many holidays that are a combination of the country’s Celtic/ Druid past and their belief in Christianity. One of these is St. Brigid’s day. St. Brigid or Brigit as she is sometimes referred to, is the female patron saint of Ireland. Her feast day is February 1 which is also the first day of spring in Ireland. “The Celtic feast of Imbolc is also February 1 and is dedicated to the Irish goddess of fertility, Brigid” (Hackney 51). This day is celebrated by many Catholics in Ireland and Irish-American Catholics in the United States. Brigid’s childhood was filled with a life of service, and she knew at a young age that she wanted to devote her life to Christianity and helping people. She was born in A.D. 451 or 452. According to Kinealy, she was born “in Ireland, probably in North Leinster” (22) to a pagan Nobleman father and a Christian bondservant mother. Her mother was sold to a Druid poet and Brigid went with her mother when she moved. When Brigid was about 12 she returned to her father. It is believed that this is when her father gave her the name Brigid after the Celtic goddess Brigid, whose feast day she shares. One of the stories about Brigid is about the first thing she did after converting to Christianity: “Brigid was hated by her father's wife, and her charity wasn't pleasing to her father, either, as she gave away some of his wealth, so her father took her to live as a bond maid with Dunlang, King of Leinster, a Christian. When they arrived, Dubthach went in to speak with the King, leaving Brigid in the chariot. A leper came to her, and she gave him her father's sword so he'd have something of value -- even as Dubthach was complaining to the King about how Brigid was always giving away his things. King Dunlang, after meeting and speaking with Brigid herself and seeing Christian greatness in her, convinced her father to give her her freedom, and then...