President Michael D Higgins has issued a special message to mark February 1st, St Brigid’s Day.
The president highlighted the influence that St Brigid has had on Irish society, and by celebrating her courage, he said it would honour all of those who continue to put their lives at risk by helping their fellow citizens.
St Brigid’s Day traditionally marks the beginning of Spring, and hopefully signal the end of the long ‘winter of the Covid-19 pandemic,’ said the president.
St Brigid’s Day was inspired by the Celtic celebration of ‘Imbolc’, which is associated with the fertility goddess and a symbolic re-connecting with the sacredness of the land and the splendour of the sky.
Brigid was a powerful woman and the patroness of, among other things, healing, the arts, fertility, and agriculture. She rejected the conventions of her time and dedicated herself to innovation in the realm of education.
‘Generations of Irish women have benefited from her inspiration and legacy,’ said the president, ‘and on Monday, as we recall her story with admiration, may we also resolve to seek inspiration in her example, to pursue our ideal of equality, universal respect for rights, and a better world for all our citizens, male and female.’
‘We do so, as we seek strength together in such values as solidarity, care, compassion and kindness, and in the knowledge that our resolve has been sorely tested in the past year.
‘Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of people have lost their lives to the virus. Many of those they left were without the intimacy of their passing or the opportunity to grieve as they would wish. Countless people too have seen their lives radically altered, their livelihoods curtailed and the social bonds, from which they drew comfort and joy, ruptured.
‘It is appropriate that we all pause to acknowledge the distress of all those for whom the pandemic has brought such pain and loss, and all those who are now experiencing loneliness and isolation from the contacts with those who previously sustained them.
‘The dark days of the pandemic will continue to challenge us for some time, and while lockdown fatigue is very real and palpable for so many, we must continue our journey within and muster up courage.
‘Moving through such moments of darkness, it is important to celebrate the light that comes from our common determination to see out the challenge. Just as the seasons change, this crisis, too, will pass.’