The Gaelic celebration for Spring or St Brigit’s Day (Bride in Scotland) was an important Pagan tradition. With the days getting longer and the very first signs of Spring emerging people would mark the 1st February with rituals such as making Brigit’s cross, picking snowdrops, lighting a fire, making a straw Brigit doll and lighting candles.
Last year I spent a week in Ireland and whilst driving along the stunning Ring of Kerry we stopped to take in the beautiful views. On the roadside a father and son were selling some reed crosses and I bought one. I had no idea at the time but it was a Brigit cross! I have it hanging on my bedroom wall as a lovely reminder of that trip.
To A Snowdrop – William Wordsworth (1819)
Lone flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from mountain tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!