February 2nd has many different names; it goes by Groundhog day, Candlemas, Brigid’s day and Imbolc. It’s a day that falls between winter and spring and marks the beginnings of that change. The days are becoming noticeably longer, some animals are returning and cold loving flowers break through the ice. This is a day that celebrates and acknowledges the first signs of spring.
Brigid’s cross is a symbol carried through Irish Celtic tradition and it continues today, as both a symbol for the more Christian St. Brigid and the pagan goddess Brigid. Made with rushes, reeds, grass or anything that will work and placed around the house for protection against fire, evil and hunger. It is also associated with the ancient pagan sun wheel, a direct representation of returning light here in the northern hemisphere.
This is a great seasonal project to do with kids. They can make them out of colorful grasses, construction paper or even pipe cleaner. It’s a good way to the kids involved and practice some fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
However, while my kids are still young, I find it best to take the time for myself and weave in silence with a couple candles making this a good parent recharge time. Though we might make a construction paper version later.
I’ve made mine with some dried reeds I found that has recently been cut and placed in a pile of yard trimmings. They were still green enough that when bent they didn’t break, so I didn’t soak them beforehand. If they were completely dry I would have soaked them for half an hour in warm water prior to using them just like in making a cornhusk doll which I have HERE. A corn husk doll or a grain doll made to represent Brigid is another common practice for Imbolc.
How to make Brigid’s Cross
There are a few different ways to do this but this is the way I learned.
- Take one of your reeds and fold it in half.
- Take another and, leaving it straight, take the folded one and place it in the center of your straight one.
3. Fold another reed and place it around the first folded piece then bring it down to the bottom so it lies beside the straight one.
4. Turn the cross and take another folded piece and place it over the previously placed one, again pulling it down to the base.
5. Turn again and repeat this until you’ve used all your pieces or reached your desired size.
6. Use a piece of string or twine and tie each of the ends together.
7. Trim the ends and any frayed pieces so it’s nice and neat.
I finished mine off by adding some dry sprigs of lavender, it looks nice and feels reminiscent of spring.