Celebrating St Brigid’s day

Weave your own cross to celebrate the feast day

Next week is the feast of St Brigid (February 1) who along with St Patrick is one of Ireland's patron saints. St Brigid, also known as Muire na nGael (which means Our Lady of the Irish), is said to have been born in 450AD. This was during St Patrickís time and she was inspired by his teachings. While St Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, likewise St Brigid used greenery to explain the meaning of the cross. St Brigid's Cross is full of symbolism; it tells the story of St Brigid and in Ireland it marks the beginning of spring and the coming of Lent.

The fame of St Brigid and her cross came from a story that she wove this form of cross at the death bed of a man. As she sat by the manís bedside, she gathered some rushes scattered on the floor and began to weave a cross out of them, explaining the meaning of the cross as she did so. Upon learning this, the man was converted and asked to be baptised.


In some parts of Ireland it is tradition to burn the old crosses and to make a new one every year on February 1. Weave your own cross to celebrate the feast day; they are simple to do and can be made in under five minutes. Rushes are easily pulled so you donít need to cut them. Gather a few handfuls, grab a few elastic bands and get weaving.

Take one rush and hold it upright. Fold a second rush in half and wrap this around the first straw so that it opens to your right. Pinch it to hold it tight and then rotate 90 degrees counter clockwise. Fold a third straw and wrap this around the second straw so again it opens to your right. Repeat these steps all the way round until you have a thick cross. Secure the ends with elastic bands or tags used to secure lunch bags. Finally, trim the edges of the rushes to make all of the sides even.

Make the crosses in different sizes; make a large one to place in your house and make a small one to pin to your coat. Hook a safety pin through the rushes and then fasten this to the lapel of your coat.