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St. Brigid’s Day, made a national holiday

DUBLIN – Colorful celebrations are planned across the country as the feast day of St. Brigid, one of Ireland’s patron saints, is declared a national holiday for the first time.

St. Brigid’s Feast Day, like St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, is celebrated in Ireland beginning on February 1st. Although the saint’s feast day is on February 1st, the first day falls on a weekday this year, so the national holiday will be on the first Monday of the month (February 6th this year), according to Irish custom. However, if St. Brigid’s feast day falls on a Friday, the holiday will be on Friday.

Government sources said the celebration of St. Brigid’s Day will also provide an opportunity to recognise the crucial role women have played in Irish history, culture, and society.

St. Brigid Known in Irish culture as a saint of healing and protection from fire, St. Brigid was born in AD 450 and is also known as the patron saint of poets and midwives.

According to a press release from the government, the new bank holiday will provide an opportunity to recognise the role of women in Ireland’s artistic and cultural heritage. Across the country, events will be held in cultural institutions, libraries, and community centres. Under the auspices of Creative Ireland, celebrations will take place in Galway, Kerry, Louth, Offaly, Roscommon, Tipperary, and Kildare.

This year, a number of Irish embassies and consulates will host events to recognise the leadership potential of Irish women in a variety of fields. St. Brigid’s Day programmes will highlight Ireland’s commitment to diversity and gender equality by celebrating women’s achievements and recognising women’s contributions around the world. St. Brigid’s Day coincides with the start of spring and the Celtic festival of Imbolc. Ireland is the first country to declare a public holiday in honour of a holy woman’s feast day. Following years of demand by Herstory, St. Brigid’s Day was declared a new bank holiday.

India, too, is celebrating.

On St. Brigid’s Day, programmes in India and Ireland are being organised in collaboration with the Indian Embassy. A short film about the life of Margaret Cousins, a woman from County Roscommon who carried out heroic missions in India, has been made as part of the Centenary of the Decade programme. This short film was created in collaboration with the Irish and Irish-Indian Embassies in Delhi, India.

The life of Margaret Cousins, who worked for suffrage, women’s rights, and gender equality in Ireland and India, has been the main theme of St. Brigid’s Day celebrations in India and Ireland.

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