St. Brigid's Day in Ireland in 2023

St. Brigid's Day in Ireland in 2023
St. Brigid of Kildare on the stained glass in church St Etheldreda . Image by Joseph Edward.Nuttgens , via Deposit Photos

  How long until St. Brigid's Day?
St. Brigid's Day
  Dates of St. Brigid's Day in Ireland
2024 Ireland Mon, Feb 5 Public Holiday
2023 Ireland Mon, Feb 6 Public Holiday
  Summary

A new public holiday in Ireland from 2023

  Local name
Lá Fhéile Bríde

When is St. Brigid's Day?

St. Brigid's Day (Gaelic: Lá Fhéile Bríde) is celebrated on February 1st. The Bank Holiday will take place on the first Monday in February each year, except where St Brigid’s day happens to fall on a Friday, in which case that Friday February 1st will be a public holiday.

A “consensus” among the government was reached, according to the Sunday Times, with employers and trade unions set to name the 10th Bank Holiday after the patron saint as part of the pandemic bonus to thank the public in general, and frontline workers in particular.

In January 2021, Minister of State Martin Heydon submitted a proposal to Government on making St Brigid’s Day a new public holiday.

He said the holiday would help recognise the enormous sacrifices made by Irish people during the Covid pandemic and highlight better times ahead.

Mr Heydon said it would also be a welcome boost for the tourism sector during a quiet time for visitors. A bank holiday on February 1st “would bridge the considerable length of time between existing public holidays on January 1st and March 17th”, he said.

History of St. Brigid

St Brigid is considered a patron saint of Ireland and February 1st marks the first day of spring.

Brigid is a Catholic and Orthodox saint. She was a pupil of St. Patrick and became famous for her kindness, mercy, and her miracles. In addition, Brigitte founded Ireland's most famous mixed (male and female) monastery in County Kildare.

At the same time, the legends about Saint Brigitte echo the myths and legends about the three-faced Celtic fertility goddess Brigid - the goddess of war, poetry, crafts, and healing. It is worth noting that before the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, the feast of the goddess Brigid was also celebrated on February 1st.

The Bogha Bríde or Brigid's Day Cross is the symbol of the day. Traditionally, reeds or straws are collected from the fields and crafted into a cross. St. Brigid is Ireland’s first native saint, the most celebrated Irish female saint, and was the Abbess of one of the first convents in Kildare.

In The Life of Brigid, her biographer, Cogitosus, recorded that Brigid formed an alliance with the hermit Conleth and, together, they created a double monastery from the Early Christian tradition. She was abbess and he was bishop. Within 100 years of her death, there was a thriving, egalitarian monastery of men and women, living and practicing their spirituality equally, side by side. 

Imbolc

Imbolc is a Celtic pagan religious holiday celebrated from February 1–2 each year. Imbolc originated as a festival in honor of the pagan goddess Brigid, which marked the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. 

Imbolc was one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals, some of which still have echoes in the festivals of today. Along with Imbolc Beltane (May 1st), Lammas (August 1st) and Samhain (November 1st - All Saints' Day).

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