A traditional way to honour St. Brigid's feast day on February 1st is by making a St. Brigid's Cross.
This distinctive looking cross is said to have been created by St. Brigid herself when she was called to provide comforting to a pagan chieftain on his deathbed (who was possibly her own father). As she sat next to him, she picked up rushes from the ground, a common feature in homes at the time, and began to weave them into a cross. The chieftain was so moved by Brigid's explanation of the meaning of the cross that he willingly converted to Christianity before he died.
Now an iconic symbol of Ireland, the St. Brigid's cross has multiple meanings. It is primarily a protective symbol, providing safety from evil, fire and hunger. It may also have roots in the pagan sun wheel (a cross in a circle), meaning it represents life and fertility. Since St. Brigid is the matron saint of cattle and dairy farmers, her cross has even been placed in cowsheds to help them produce more milk.
The cross, made from rushes or reeds, is designed to be temporary and is typically placed above entryways in homes. Making the cross can be a contemplative experience that provides an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the cross, like Brigid.
Michael Fortune, a Canadian designer and furniture maker, has created a step-by-step guide on how to create a St. Brigid's cross.