Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eve of Brigantia, festival of St Brighid, Ireland

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
People once believed that the good saint (St Brighid; Bridget; Brigid; Bride; Briid) travelled about the countryside on the Eve of her feast day (February 1), bestowing her blessing on the people and their livestock. Token gifts of a cake or pieces of bread and butter were left on the window-sill outside. A sheaf of corn was often placed beside the cake, as refreshment for the saint's white cow which accompanied her on her rounds.

In Ireland it was believed that Bridget would 'touch the brat' (a woman's article such as a ribbon or mantle) and imbue it with healing powers. The brat was a ribbon or a piece of linen or other cloth, or any item of clothing. The ribbon, cloth or garment would possibly be laid on the doorstep or the window sill, or thrown on a low roof; in Munster it was often tied to the door latch so that the saint would touch it when entering the house. A sash, scarf or handkerchief thus touched by the saint would keep the wearer safe from harm. Once touched by the saint it kept its power forever, and many believed that the older it was, the more potent it became. Men, on the other hand, often put out a belt, a tie or a pair of braces to gain this protection ...

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