Ireland observed a public holiday for the first time since this new year started. This celebrated holiday honors St. Brigid’s Day and Imbolc, an ancient pagan holy day associated with the goddess Brigid and heralding the coming of spring. The official holiday is Monday, but the smiles of celebrations began well before.
Ireland has three official patron saints that are in register with the government as well. They are Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid, and Saint Columba (also known as Saint Colmcille). However, Saint Patrick is considered the primary patron saint of Ireland. Saint Brigid, also known as Brigid of Kildare, is the state’s only female patron saint, which is why the holiday also indicates women’s empowerment. According to twinkl.com, a reliable history information source, she was born around 451 AD, north of Dundalk, County Louth. During her life, she was an early Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of many different monasteries of nuns.
The designation of this holiday, the very first tributing a female Irish, is celebrated 120 years after St. Patrick got his holiday back in time.
According to usnews.com, “The legacy of St. Brigid and its relevance for our world today is not about going back to the fifth century and staying there, but looking at the needs of the world today,” said Sister Rita Minehan, a Roman Catholic sister and one of the founders of Solas Bhride, a center that opened here in 2015 to welcome pilgrims and foster the spirituality inspired by Brigid. An appreciable number of people are being noticed calling Brigid the “matron saint” of Ireland. She is widely viewed as an embodiment of women’s empowerment, environmental advocacy, and peacemaking in an Ireland that is progressing, letting go, and modernizing the traditional forms of Catholicism.
While celebrations with various appealing lighting and prayers are underway in Ireland, this holy day also marks the countdown to the 1,500th anniversary of Brigid’s demise from the world in 2024. According to various sources, the coming year will also hold a conference and other events marking the milestone and emphasizing the importance of great character.