St Bridgets Crosses
Lá Fhéile Bhríde - Saint Brigid's Feast Day is celebrated today, Wednesday February 1.
The day which has long celebrated the arrival of Spring in Ireland is still alive in Leitrim, with many people recognising the day in various ways.
Brigid is one of Ireland’s patron saints and was known also as a fertility goddess in Celtic mythology. She is also associated with perpetual, sacred flames, and there is also a shrine dedicated to her in Kildare.
One of the most common traditions of the day is to make a Saint Brigid's Cross. These crosses are relatively simple to make, and traditionally are usually made from fresh rushes, but can also use straw. They are made in a cross shape with a square shape in the middle and then four arms coming along each side. Some believe that the crosses have the power to protect the owner’s home from harm.
There are two St Brigid's Wells in Leitrim, one is in Inismagrath parish,the other in Oughteragh parish. The wells originate from pagan times and people walk around the wells in a particular order, saying prayers before collecting holy water from the well.
The day is also marked with cooking and baking of new foods and meals to celebrate the end of the long dark winter.