Brigid’s Cross

Symbol of Imbolc — Brigid’s Cross

Brigid’s Cross

Bride’s Crosses or Brigid’s Cross were woven from rushes and hung over a doorway.  Brigid’s Cross brings blessing and good fortune to the people within the home, and all who enter it. Every year a new cross is fashioned, and the old one is burned: it is believed that the burnt cross will protect the home from fire. Imbolc, also known as Candlemas, or St Bride’s Day is celebrated on February 1.  In Ireland, February 1 is celebrated as the first day of spring, when badgers awoke from their pseudo-hibernation.  Brigid’s festival was one of the four main events in the ancient Celtic calendar because it marks the invisible reawakening of Nature within the cold earth. It was also sometimes called Oimealg (Imbolc) meaning ‘ewe’s milk’ because it opened the season of lambing. The blessing of Brigid was asked to ensure a fertile start to the agricultural year   In celebration of the holiday, bonfires were lit on hilltops and a young maid crowned and honored in Brigid’s stead. Candles were lit in every window and homes in the Isles were decorated with early flowers and greenery.

Making a Brigid’s Cross

Brigid’s crosses were exchanged as symbols of protection in ancient times.
Items needed:
a handful of wheat stalks
warm water
clothespins
clear or red thread and needle
Directions:
Soak wheat stalks in warm water until pliable
Fold one stalk of wheat in half, leaving the kernels sticking out
Fold another one the same way, and thread through the first one. (It now looks like a long “L” )
Fold the third the same way, and insert through the second wheat stalk. (It now looks like an L with a tail )
Fold and insert the fourth stalk through the third
Use the clothes pins to help keep the shape as you weave more wheat.
Continue folding and threading the wheat stalks until you have several wheat woven through each “arm”
Allow to dry with the clothespins in place
Using the thread and needle, sew the stalks together, this help hold the design together when it is less than perfection

Compiled By Lady Kamberlyn

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