Although Brigid’s Cross is commonly thought to be a Christian emblem, its origins can be traced back to much ancient customs and folklore.
Usually, rushes and straw are used to weave the cross. It adorns the doorways and rafters of Irish homes, mainly in the kitchen, and consists of a central square flanked by four arms at right angles, warding off fire and evil.
Brigid was a deity who gave life.
These crosses were traditionally woven on Imbolc, the pagan goddess Brigid’s festival, to commemorate the beginning of Spring.
Brigid of the Tuatha de Danaan was a life-giving goddess in Irish Celtic mythology, which is why the beginning of Spring, when new lambs are born and flowers begin to bloom again, is associated with her.
She was also linked to fire, both its beneficial and destructive properties.
Brigid was canonized as a Christian saint.
The goddess Brigid became St. Brigid, or St. Brigid of Kildare (450-520), one of Ireland’s patron saints once Christianity was introduced to Ireland.
Many of the goddess’s characteristics were transferred to the saint. On February 1st, Imbolc became St Brigid’s Feast. St. Brigit’s Cross was the name given to the cross. In accord with pagan traditions, St. Brigit became identified with sacred flames and holy wells.