You don’t need to look far for a reason to party like a Celt. With eight sacred days in addition to the typical Church holidays like Christmas and Easter, Celts are always either planning a party or recovering from one. Here’s the yearly run-down for special occasions to celebrate: February 1 – St. Brigid’s Day, marking the beginning of Spring March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day, also the Vernal Equinox May 1 – Bealtine, or May Day, marking the beginning of Summer June 21 – Summer Solstice mid-August – Lughnasa, marking the beginning of harvest September 21 – Autumnal Equinox October 31-November 2 – Samhain, marking the sacred period between All Hallow’s Eve and All Souls Day December 21 – Winter Solstice But you don’t need to wait for a special day to host a celebration. Put out the invites for a “céilidh” (“a visit” or kitchen party), a féis (festival), a luadhadh (a milling frolic) or a bogadh (an immersion dance) and you can party like a Celt any old day of the year. Just make sure you have the appropriate food, drink, stories, and music on hand. Invite your favorite harpist, fiddler or bagpiper. Fire up the kettle with an Irish stew or colcannon. Break out your finest Irish whiskey and chill the glasses for the Guinness. Tell your favorite Celtic story, or just throw such a great party that it becomes the stuff of legend itself.
Happy St. Brigid’s Day! In Ireland, it marks the first day of spring and the new farm year. It also honors the Patroness of Ireland – the beloved St. Brigid. The saint lived from 451 – 525 AD. Her long life was one of influence and importance, although she lived in an age when women were considered completely subservient. Brigid was a very pious Christian who founded several monasteries and traveled constantly teaching about Jesus. Even today, many miracles are attributed to her intercession. She was regarded as the best cook and ale maker in all of Ireland and it is said she never turned the hungry away. At one time Brigid was ministering to a dying pagan chieftain. In her zeal to explain the life of Christ to the man, she pulled nearby rushes and wove a cross as she spoke to him. Legend says the chieftain repented and was baptized before his death due to Brigid’s prayer on his behalf. As with all things Irish, celebrations mean traditions. In Brigid’s honor, the story of her cross is often commemorated in rough crosses made like hers from grasses and rushes, sculptures carved from wood and stone, and precious jewelry crafted in her honor. [insert link to Celtic Ranch St. Brigid’s Cross photos] St. Brigid’s crosses still hang today in many Irish homes and around many Irish necks in the hopes that the Patroness continues her prayers on behalf of the people she loved.