Almost everyone knows who St. Patrick is, but few seem to have heard of St. Brigid.
The people at the Pittsburgh Irish Festival hope to change that. The organization announced a “Celebration of St. Brigid” on February 1st – the official holiday for St. Brigid, just as March 17th is dedicated to St. Patrick.
St. Brigid is one of Ireland’s patron saints and while not as famous as her male counterpart, she and St. Patrick are buried together in Ireland.
She is perhaps best known for creating an unusual cross that bears her name. This cross is usually handcrafted from woven rushes or straw and is designed to keep evil, fire and hunger away from the homes where it is displayed. The symbolism is just as important to St. Brigid as the shamrock is to St. Patrick.
Another of St. Brigid’s claims to fame is that she is considered one of the patron saints of beer who miraculously turned water into beer for a leper colony and provided 18 churches with enough beer from a single barrel.
“While Brigid is celebrated with a festival in Ireland every February 1st, the same feeling really hasn’t found its way to the United States,” said Mairin Petrone, spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh Irish Festival. “Our mission is to create that awareness and get people to celebrate it in the states. She is as important to Irish culture and lore as St. Patrick’s, and we would love her to receive the same level of recognition. “
With the support of the Irish Embassy, the Association of Irish and Celtic Festivals (AICF) is hosting an online concert with performances by famous Irish women musicians.
“After our success with our Irish Christmas Concert, we wanted to continue our educational mission and what could be better than St. Brigid’s Day and a celebration of the feminine spirit,” said Erin O’Rourke, AICF board member.
“We hope that by highlighting this Irish patron saint and her holidays and stories, we can entertain and educate audiences with a program that celebrates her and some of the best Irish musicians and dancers in the world.”
Emer Rocke, Ireland’s Deputy Ambassador to the United States, said of St. Brigid: “From Annie Moore to Mother Jones, Georgia O’Keefe to Maureen O’Hara, Irish women and their daughters have paved a path through all walks of American life . In the week that this country’s first female vice president took office, I am pleased to announce this celebration of remarkable women artists. “
The event was co-organized by the Grammy Award-winning violinist Eileen Ivers. She will also occur. Ivers is accompanied by Joanie Madden, who is considered one of the greatest musicians in the history of Irish music in America.
The online concert starts on February 1st at 8 p.m. and will be streamed on the Pittsburgh Irish Festival Facebook page. You can find more information about the event here.
Paul Guggenheimer is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or email@example.com.
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