St. Brigid, Celtic tradition signals spring is near

St. Bridget's Day Mass

Celebration of the Patroness Saint of Ireland

Feb 01, 2024, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Irish Pastoral Center, 540 Gallivan Blvd, Dorchester MA 02124


St. Brigid and Celtic tradition marks the beginning of springtime.

Spring is a perfect time to Fill Your Heart With Ireland, with gardens beginning to bloom across the country, yellow daffodils bursting into colour in parks, as well as lambs in the fields.

Marking the first day of Spring in Ireland St Brigid’s Day, also known as part of the Celtic celebration of Imbolc, takes place annually on the 1st of February making the new season of growth, nature, colour and creativity. The country is awash with colourful and vibrant festivalsmarking St. Brigid’s life, not just in Co. Kildare where she founded a convent, but across every county - from street parades in Dublin city centre to family-friendly St. Brigid’s Cross workshops in Castlebar. As a goddess of fire and fertility, Brigid celebrates the rebirth of nature and the colour and vibrance of nature that comes in springtime.

One of the four key festivals in the Celtic calendar (the others being Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain) Imbolc traditionally falls between the shortest day and the spring equinox and is a time when people look forwards for a good year ahead. Wildflowers and the lighting of candles are also associated with St. Brigid, as a time to look toward the future and clear out the old – it’s where the concept of the ‘spring clean’ was derived. 

Known for her own creativity and crafts, traditional St. Brigid activities include making of the iconic St. Brigid's Cross, a symbol which was handmade from rushes or straw, created on her annual feast day, 1st February, to protect homes from harm from malevolent spirits. Whilst in some places in the west of Ireland, girls wove straw Brídeóg dolls in her honour which costumed ‘Biddy Boys’ would then carry through the village! 

2024 marks 1500 years since the death of this iconic ‘Matron Saint’, and will be celebrated across Ireland with parades, festivals and ceremonies, but also in the celebration of Spring, rebirth and culture.

About St. Brigid: One of Ireland’s three Patron Saints (alongside the famed St. Patrick and St. Columba) St. Brigid has interestingly been celebrated in Irish history and mythology as both a Christian saint and an important figure in Irish Celtic paganism. Believed to have lived during the 5th century, legends about St. Brigid’s life abound with tales of her kindness, compassion and charity but also importantly her creativity through poetry and craftsmanship.

Famed for her healing miracles (a whopping 46!), she is often associated with the early Irish Christian Church, founding several monasteries including in Kildare, which became a centre of learning in Ireland. Her feast day, St. Brigid’s Day, is celebrated on February 1st and marks the beginning of spring in the Irish calendar. This blending of pagan and Christian elements helped to ease the transition to Christianity in Ireland.

Born in Louth, Brigid is revered as a goddess of creativity and inspiration, encouraging artistic expression and the pursuit of knowledge. Her final resting place was Kildare, which is home to St. Brigid’s Cathedral and St. Brigid's Well.

Connect to Celtic Christianity on a Legacy of St Brigid tour


Be inspired by the fascinating story of the life and legacy of St Brigid on an immersive tour led by an expert in Christian heritage.

The Legacy of St Brigid tour introduces participants to one of the most important Irish saints – an icon who is revered across the world for her work with the poor and marginalised.

St Brigid is one of Ireland’s three patron saints, together with St Patrick and St Colmcille, and was traditionally commemorated in Ireland each year on 1 February.

The Legacy of St Brigid tour is led by Brigid Watson, a local expert tour guide and environmentalist with a passion for Christian heritage. The tour begins in St Patrick’s Centre in the historic town of Downpatrick , County Down, where the three patron saints are said to be buried.

The centre is the only permanent exhibition dedicated to St Patrick in the world and tells his story through interactive, high-tech, audio-visual presentations.

There is also an excellent display about St Brigid and the ancient traditions associated with her, as well as one on the ancient pagan goddess Brigid or Brid, a figure in Irish mythology. The saint’s feast day is inextricably linked to the Celtic goddess and the ancient festival of Imbolc, the first of the four major ‘fire’ festivals from Gaelic Ireland. A new public holiday in Ireland on the first Monday in February marks both St Brigid’s Day and Imbolc.

Participants on the Legacy of St Brigid tour also get the chance to try their hand at making St Brigid’s crosses from rushes, an ancient tradition that is still practised today in the run up to St Brigid’s Day.

Afterwards the tour takes a short walk to visit the grave of St Brigid, St Patrick and St Colmcille at Downpatrick Cathedral. Downpatrick is an important ecclesiastic centre on the island of Ireland and is the end point of the St Patrick’s Way: The Pilgrim Walk which stretches 130 km from Armagh visiting 10 locations that were important in the life of St Patrick.

2024 marks 1500 since the death of St Brigid and this is being marked by the Brigid 1500 festival which will take place in County Kildare from 27 January to 6 February. The festival will present an extensive line-up of events to celebrate St Brigid in a contemporary way and will be an entertaining opportunity to find out more about the saint and her legacy.