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  • Saint Brigid

Rites connected with St. Brigid

A rite is a kind of ceremony like baptism, or a tradition like the wren boys who go around the houses on St. Stevens day. A rite which you are familiar with, is the Halloween tradition of going door to door trick or treating. 

The threshold rite was performed as a way of bringing members of a community together. During the threshold rite, the Brídóg (a special kind of doll made from rushes!), was used to represent St. Brigid.  On the evening before St. Brigid’s Feast Day, she was welcomed into people's houses in the form of the Brídóg, it was hoped that the saint would give a blessing to the family ensuring good health, and a good harvest.

The Brídóg was carried around from house to house, in a procession, as they got near a house they called out "The lady approaches, St. Brigid approaches", the reply came back "She is welcome, She is welcome".

The Brídóg was brought into the house, a few songs were sung, then the procession went to the next house. In Donegal the Brídóg was left in the house for the occupants to carry it to the next house, it was less formal, with no costumes being worn.

In some parts of the country a girl would dress up as St. Brigid, while in other places it was the men who got dressed up, they were called the biddys and wore a tall wicker head-dress (a type of hat).

St. Brigid's Bed

St. Brigid’s Bed was also made of rushes and used as part of the welcoming ritual in some parts of Ireland. Some people placed a bed of rushes in the corner of the room where she could rest on her travels.

If the rushes were disturbed the following morning it was believed that the saint had spent some of the night there.