Bratog Bride

On Imbolc Eve, which is celebrated on February 1st, it is a tradition to place a piece of cloth or scarf outside so that the goddess Brigid can bless it for healing and protection for the year 12. This special garment is known as a ‘Bratog Bride’ in Irish folklore 1.

The girls and young unmarried women of the household or village create a corn dolly to represent Brigid, called the Brideog, adorning it with ribbons and baubles like shells or stones. They make a bed for the Brideog to lie in. On St. Brigid’s Eve (January 31), the girls and young women gather together in one house to stay up all night with the Brideog, and are later visited by all the young men of the community who must ask permission to enter the home, and then treat them and the corn dolly with respect 1.

Before going to bed, each member of the household may leave a piece of clothing or strip of cloth outside for Brigid to bless. The head of the household will smother (or “smoor”) the fire and rake the ashes smooth. In the morning, they look for some kind of mark on the ashes, a sign that Brigid has passed that way in the night or morning. The clothes or strips of cloth are brought inside and believed to now have powers of healing and protection 1.

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