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The Stations of the SunA History of the Ritual Year in Britain$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.001.0001

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Brigid's Night *

Brigid's Night *

Chapter:
(p.134) 12 Brigid's Night*
Source:
The Stations of the Sun
Author(s):

Ronald Hutton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.003.0012

The belief had developed that the St Brigid would visit virtuous households upon the eve of her feast, and bless the inhabitants as they slept. Traditions regarding this visit were recorded all over Ireland. Very often, some of the food was placed outside on a window-sill as a gift for the saint. More frequently still, people would plait a St Brigid's cross woven of rushes, and hang it over a door or window or in the rafters as a sign of welcome for her. These objects took many different forms, partly according to region. The straightforward three-armed cross of Christianity was rarely used; instead four-armed examples, often set in lozenges or crooked at the ends as swastikas, were normal. On the other hand, the first record of the crosses comes from 1689, when they were associated with the summer feast of Corpus Christi, and their enduring linkage with St Brigid's Eve was not noted until 1728.

Keywords:   saint, households, traditions, Ireland, St Brigid, cross, Christianity, feast, Corpus Christi

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