St Brigid is Ireland’s second most famous patron saint, after St Patrick, and her feast day is celebrated on 1st February. Learn how to make a St Brigid’s Cross which is a great activity to do with kids.
Story tells that Brigid first started weaving a cross from rushes on the floor, when called to bedside of a dying, pagan chieftain. When he asked what she was doing, she told him the story of Jesus, and he converted before he died.
The St Brigid’s Cross was traditionally hung above the entrances to houses, to invoke the help of St Brigid to ward off disease and fire.
Traditionally, rushes are used to make the St Brigid’s Cross, and these are collected from marsh land. If you don’t have rushes, any other bendable reed or straw would work (even drinking straws or pipe cleaners are a good substitute for young children).
How to Make a St Brigid’s Cross
- 9 rushes/reeds/straws
- 4 small rubber bands, to tie up ends
- Hold one of the reeds vertically and fold a second reed in half.
- Place the first vertical reed in the centre of the folded second reed.
- Hold the centre overlap tightly between thumb and forefinger.
- Turn the two reeds held together 90 degrees anti-clockwise so that the open ends of the second reed are projecting vertically upwards.
- Fold a third reed in half and over both parts of the second reed to lie horizontally from left to right against the first reed. While holding the centre tightly, turn the three reeds 90 degrees anti-clockwise so that the open ends of the third reed are pointing upwards.
- Fold a new reed in half over and across all the reeds pointing upwards.
- Repeat the process of rotating all the reeds 90 degrees anti-clockwise, adding a new folded reed each time until all nine reeds have been used up to make the cross.(Add to the right, turn to the left)
- Secure the arms of the cross with elastic bands. Trim the ends to make them all the same length. The St Brigid’s Cross is now ready to hang.