World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Brigid's cross

Article Id: WHEBN0000391788
Reproduction Date:

Title: Brigid's cross  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Imbolc, Culture of Ireland, Irish people, Irish culture, Bean an tí
Collection: Cross Symbols, Irish Culture, National Symbols of Ireland, Straw Art
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Brigid's cross

Brigid's cross
Brigid's cross set over a doorway
A Brigid's cross symbol on a gravestone in Ireland

Brigid's cross or Brigit's cross (Irish: Cros Bríde, Crosóg Bríde or Bogha Bríde) is a small cross usually woven from rushes. Typically it has four arms tied at the ends and a woven square in the middle. Historically, there were also three-armed versions.[1][2] It is suggested that the cross has pre-Christian origins and is related to the sun cross and swastika.

Brigid's crosses are associated with Brigid of Kildare, one of the patron saints of Ireland. The crosses are traditionally made in Ireland on St Brigid's feast day, 1 February, which was formerly celebrated as a pagan festival (Imbolc) marking the beginning of spring. Many rituals are associated with the making of the crosses.[3] Traditionally they were set over doorways and windows to protect the home from any kind of harm.[4]

To some extent, the Brigid's cross has become one of the symbols of Ireland, along with the shamrock and harp. For much of the late 20th century it was used to represent the Irish national broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann.

Contents

  • Origins 1
    • Celtic origins 1.1
    • Christian origin story 1.2
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Origins

Celtic origins

The presence of the Brigid's cross in Ireland is likely far older than Christianity. The Goddess Brigid was one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Her feast day was the feast of Imbolc, and the cross made of rushes today is very likely the descendant of a pagan symbol whose original meaning may have been locally understood even into the early 20th century in rural Ireland. One remnant of that tradition in the meaning of the Brigid's Cross today, is that it is said to protect a house from fire. This does not fit with any part of the Christian story of St Brigid, and so is likely a part of the older spiritual tradition behind the feast day.[5][6]

Christian origin story

In Christian religion, St Brigid and her cross are linked together by a story about her weaving this form of cross at the death bed of either her father or a pagan lord, who upon hearing what the cross meant, asked to be baptized. One version goes as follows:

A pagan chieftain from the neighborhood of Kildare was dying. Christians in his household sent for Brigid to talk to him about Christ. When she arrived, the chieftain was raving. As it was impossible to instruct this delirious man, hopes for his conversion seemed doubtful. Brigid sat down at his bedside and began consoling him. As was customary, the dirt floor was strewn with rushes both for warmth and cleanliness. Brigid stooped down and started to weave them into a cross, fastening the points together. The sick man asked what she was doing. She began to explain the cross, and as she talked, his delirium quieted and he questioned her with growing interest. Through her weaving, he converted and was baptized at the point of death. Since then, the cross of rushes has existed in Ireland.

See also

References

  1. ^ Ó Duinn, Seán. The Rites of Brigid. Columba Press, 2005. p.121
  2. ^ Evans, Emyr Estyn. Irish Folk Ways, 1957. p.268
  3. ^ http://www.unc.edu/celtic/catalogue/stbrigid/st_brigids_crosses.html
  4. ^ http://www.crosscrucifix.com/articlehome.htm
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links

  • St. Brigid's Cross
  • St. Brigid's Cross
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.