Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Ireland St. Brigid Day Celebrations 2024

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By Roy Lie Atjam

The Grote Kerk Den Haag was the site of the first St. Brigid Day celebration in the Netherlands on February 1st, 2024, which had a large turnout.

Fashion show at St. Brigid Day Celebrations 2024 in The Hague.

St. Brigid is the patron saint of Ireland and her feast day is celebrated on February 1st, which marks the beginning of spring. Since 2023, it has been recognized as a public holiday. This year, for the first time ever, St. Brigid Day was celebrated in the Netherlands.

Kilkenny Lundy School of Irish Dance – 2024 St Brigid Celebrations by the Embassy of Irelands.

Celebrating the creativity of women

The celebration of St. Brigid Day featured a fashion show and cultural show that showcased the works of Irish designers Helen Steele and Tara Garvey. The event also included performances by the Pablo Neruda Choir, harpist Rosie Murphy, and the Kilkenny Lundy School of Irish Dance. Additionally, a photo exhibit by Tourism Ireland was on display throughout the evening.

Guests at the St Brigid reception.

Who was St. Brigid. One of Ireland’s three Patron Saints, Ireland has three official patron saints, Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and Saint Columba – also known as Saint Colmcille. However, Saint Patrick is the primary patron saint of Ireland.

Irish dances during St Brigid celebrations.

The Irish name Brigid can also be spelled Brigit or Bridget. Little is known about her life but from legend, myth, and folklore. According to tradition St. Brigid of Kildare, was born around the year 451 AD in Faughart near Dundalk, Co. Louth, and died c. 525 in Kildare.

Brigid founded the first convent in Ireland on Croghan Hill, Co. Westmeath. According to legend, Brigid travelled around the country founding convents and performing miracles.

One of the guests and H.E. Mr. Jožef Drofenik, Ambassador of Slovenia.

St Brigid is accredited with first creating the unique cross which bears her name. This cross is normally hand created from rushes however occasionally straw is also used. The distinctive St. Brigid’s Cross design, made from woven rushes, is thought to keep evil fire and hunger from the homes in which it is displayed.

Saint Brigid is said to have been the one who came up with this distinct cross symbol, and that the design was inspired by the pagan sun wheel.

Harpist Rosie Murphy trio.

It is alleged that St Brigid has been venerated in the southern Netherlands for over 800 years by Dutch (farmers) in Noorbeek, Ommen, Ginneken, and Bavel through chapels, churches, and municipal coat of arms.

In his welcome speech, H.E. Ambassador Brendan Rogers  extemporaneously recounted the significance of St. Brigid, a remarkable woman priest and bishop, and the celebration of this day in recognition of women’s achievements in society.

Guests at St Brigid reception.

The fashion show was smashing, with young, innocent and unprofessional models, which added to its beauty. The same can be said for the dancers. Overall, it was a delightful celebration of the first St. Brigid Day in the Netherlands.

Photography by the Embassy of Ireland in The Hague.

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