Saint Brigid's Day Cross

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
The cross given to my mother.
The cross given to my mother.

My mother was born in Ireland. In Ireland, there are a good number of holidays that aren’t celebrated in America. One of these holidays is Saint Brigid’s Day (which lies on February 1st). The purpose of this day is for welcoming the arrival of warmer weather and spring itself. Before my mom left to move to America in 1985, her own mother gave her a hand-woven Saint Brigid’s Day cross. This item was supposed to be a blessing for my mom, and my grandmother believed that it would keep her safe when abroad. When my mother arrived in New York, many things were different, and she didn’t know many people. The cross that my grandmother gave my mom reassured her, because it was a reminder of Ireland and her family. She was glad to have it with her, since she was so far away from home. To this day, my mom still has the Saint Brigid’s Day cross with her. Since then, she has gotten used to life in America. Her mother passed away in 2012, so whenever she looks at the cross now, my mom is reminded of the fact that she is deceased, which saddens her. However, the cross also brings back pleasant childhood memories, such as ones sitting on the floor surrounded by reeds (or “rushes” in Ireland), weaving crosses on the night before Saint Brigid’s Day.

Place(s): Ireland, New York
Year: 1985

– Sofia Coulibaly

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant