Thig an nathair as an toll
La donn Bride,
Ged robh tri traighean dh’ an t-sneachd
Air leachd an lair.
The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.
–Scottish Gaelic Proverb about Imbolc
On St. Brigid’s Eve (January 31), the girls and young women gather together in one house to stay up all night with the Brideog, and are later visited by all the young men of the community, who must ask permission to enter the home and must treat them and the corn dolly with respect.
Brigid is said to walk the earth on Imbolc eve. Before going to bed, each member of the household may leave a piece of clothing or strip of cloth outside for Brigid to bless. The head of the household will smother (or “smoor”) the fire and rake the ashes smooth. In the morning, they look for some kind of mark on the ashes, a sign that Brigid has passed that way in the night or morning. The clothes or strips of cloth are brought inside, and are believed to have powers of healing and protection.
On the following day, the girls carry the Brideog through the village or neighborhood, from house to house, where this representation of the Saint/goddess is welcomed with great honor. Adult women — those who are married or who run a household — stay home to welcome the Brigid procession, perhaps with an offering of coins or a snack. Since Brigid represents the light half of the year, and the power that will bring people from the dark season of winter into spring, her presence is very important at this time of year.