Making a St.Brigid’s cross, is an ancient tradition in Ireland, people young and old make these crosses from rushes of which there are plenty growing around the country. Tradition has it that the cross will protect the house from fire, hunger and evil if hung above the door. You can often still see them hanging in halls of houses. St.Brigid or as she is known “Mary of the Gael” is the patroness of Ireland, she was born in 450 A.D.
It is also suggested that this cross has pre-Christian origins and is related to the sun cross. The first of February is when St.Brigid’s day is celebrated, this is also the ancient Irish celebration of ‘Imbolc’ which marks the beginning of spring, and indeed spring starts on the first of February in Ireland! (According to the behaviour of the birds this morning in our garden, this must be about right).
Actually Wikipedia gives a real good write up about St.Brigid cross and that is why I am adding a link to it, far more information than I could know or share here, so enjoy if you are interested.
I have added some photos to show how the cross is made on request of some of my nice friends that follow my blog. I made some of these crosses tonight. Went to pick the rushes earlier and kept them from drying out, this is important to work with them easily if not using straight away.
So here goes, I will do my best to describe:
First you hold one rush vertical in your hand, and you add another rush with your other hand bending it in the middle and sliding it across the vertical rush as seen in pic 2. you then turn the vertical rush either clock-wise or anti clock-wise depending on whether you are right or left handed. You keep adding one rush at the time constantly turning the original rush, you keep a tight hold of them. When you have added enough and it becomes like pic 6 then you have to cut the ends but be careful as the whole thing might jump loose, so hold tight, fix an elastic band around the end and repeat this with all four sides. Your cross is now ready to hang up.
I hope the explanation will do, and if you try I hope you have much fun.
The rushes or reeds used to make these crosses are called;
Soft Rush or Juncus effuses. http://www.irishwildflowers.ie/pages-rushes/r-07.html