Upholding Irish tradition, recognising Irish Design, Craftsmanship and our heritage has always been one of our core values at The Cat and The Moon. Brigid’s Day, Lá Fhéile Bríde, our new National Holiday, fast becoming a global celebration of women and creativity is another wonderful opportunity to celebrate that craft heritage. Originally a pre-christian festival known as Imbolc, St Brigids Day falls on February 1st, also marking the beginning of spring and the transition from one season to another. The ancient festival of Imbolc was a time to look forward to brighter days, warmer weather, new growth on the land and the birth of farm animals. In our early Christian tradition families would gather rushes on 31 January, the eve of Brigid's feast day. After an evening feast, the head of household would supervise the rest of the family as they wove crosses from the collected rushes with the crosses were left out overnight to receive Brigid's blessing as she crossed over the land.
Whilst the direction in which the crosses were hung remains unknown, the centre shape is frequently described as a lozenge and is easily recognizable.
It became common, to gift a St Brigid’s Cross to newlyweds offering protection to those starting a family and well wishes to those beginning life in a new home, and it is through this tradition, St Brigid became known as a patron saint of fertility. However, she is patroness, and pre Christian god, of many things, including poetry, learning, healing, protection, blacksmithing, livestock and dairy production.
As time went on families also sent woven crosses to their friends and family who lived abroad or gifted them to carry with them when they left Ireland to incur blessings and strengthen bonds.
With over three decades of trading we pride ourselves in being able to source the finest artisan Irish crafts from all over Ireland so why mark St Brigid’s Day with a gift from our carefully curated range available at our store at 4 Castle Street in the heart of Sligo or go to our website and take a look at our St Brigid’s Day Gift offerings.
Crafted by hand, our St Brigid’s cross available in Sterling Silver or 9ct gold was created by award winning jewellery designer and owner Martina Hamilton and reflects the tradition as we know it today, crafted in our Sligo town design studio by our award winning family team of goldsmiths. The crosses are worn year round as a symbol of love and protection.
Did you know?
St Brigid was born in 451 in Dundalk in Ireland and died in 525.
Brigid was known for her remarkable generosity. There are countless stories of miracles about her charity that have been handed down. It is said that when she churned butter, she would give a large portion to the poor, but then the butter would miraculously be replenished.
There are many holy wells throughout Ireland dedicated to St Brigid and people visited these wells on the eve or on the feast day itself. Often, they left a ribbon or a votive offering at the well so that their intention would be remembered. Water collected from a holy well at this time was believed to be particularly blessed.