Did you know that on February 1, it was St Brigid’s Day? And do you know its significance? Well, sit back and relax while we tell you…
St Brigid, also known as St Brigid of Kildare, is the female patron saint of Ireland, and, significantly for this blog, her patron saint day on February 1 also marks the first day of spring.
She was born in the year 451 to a pagan Gaelic Chieftain named Dubtach (Duffy, is the anglicised version) and to a Christian slave mother named Brocca. She was baptised by St Patrick.
A very holy woman, Brigid gave away food and her own clothing to poor people, performed miracles, and created the first female monastic community in Ireland. She also became friends with St Patrick, who, of course, is Ireland’s male patron saint.
Her most famous miracle relates to her request for a parcel of land from an Irish Chieftain on which to build her monastic community. He said she could have as much land as her cloak could cover. When she spread her cloak across the ground, it miraculously covered 12 acres!
When Brigid died in 525, she was buried in Downpatrick, next to St Patrick. The date she died – February 1 – became her feast day, and her memory is marked with traditional crosses made from reeds. It was also declared the first day of spring.
We love this story, especially the story of her cloak. It’s reminiscent of a children’s fairy tale. Whether or not you believe in the miracles, she was clearly a very virtuous woman who is remembered with love in Ireland.
Inspirational spring and why we love it
We mentioned snowdrops in our headline because this blog is really about spring – and we love it.
Spring is an inspirational season for us children’s book illustrators. Leaves are beginning to unfurl, snowdrops will soon be joined by daffodils, birds are singing louder and for longer and – joy of joys – the days are starting to get a little longer.
Getting out and about is much easier, and it needn’t be expensive. If you’re looking for something to do, why not go for a stroll in your local park, or maybe take a trip to the seaside and walk on the beach (much nicer now than when it’s packed in the summer). You could even pop into the woods for some forest bathing…
Yes, forest bathing! Hailing from Japan, where it’s known as ‘shinrin yoku’, this activity simply means being calm and quiet among the trees. By taking in the wonders of nature all around you and breathing deeply, you’ll begin to feel yourself unwind and de-stress, which in turn will help improve your health and wellbeing.
We’ll be out in the woods later for our daily walk and to partake in a little forest bathing. Then we’ll be back hard at it, illustrating some fantastic children’s stories. If you’d like to talk to us about this, or any ideas you have that need accompanying designs or illustrations, we’d love to hear from you.