Irish Saints Feast Celebrations During Lent

Holidays & Special Events

By Felicity Long

Lent, the Christian season of fasting and penance, is observed by millions of people around the world. In Ireland, as in many other countries, Lent is marked by various religious traditions and observances. One unique aspect of Irish culture is the celebration of feast days for different saints throughout the Lenten season.

Irish saints have a long and storied history, with many renowned for their piety and miracles. During Lent, these saints are honored and celebrated for their contributions to the Irish faith. One such saint is St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, whose feast day falls on March 17th, right in the middle of Lent. The feast of St. Patrick is a national holiday in Ireland and is marked by parades, religious ceremonies, and festivities.

In addition to St. Patrick, there are several other Irish saints whose feast days occur during Lent. St. Brigid, the patron saint of Ireland along with St. Patrick, is celebrated on February 1st. Known for her generosity and compassion, St. Brigid is also associated with the beginning of spring and the farming season. Her feast day is marked by traditions such as making St. Brigid’s crosses out of rushes, which are then hung in homes for protection and good luck.

Another Irish saint whose feast day falls during Lent is St. Columba, also known as St. Colmcille. He is celebrated on June 9th, which is part of the season of Easter. St. Columba is known for his role in spreading Christianity throughout Ireland and Scotland, as well as for his scholarship and poetry. His feast day is often marked by pilgrimages to his holy sites and by reciting his prayers and hymns.

These are just a few examples of the many Irish saints whose feast days take place during Lent. Each saint has a unique story and legacy, and their celebrations offer a chance for Irish people to come together in faith and gratitude. Whether through parades, religious services, or other customs, these feast days serve as a reminder of the rich spiritual heritage of Ireland and the enduring impact of its saints.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

St. Patrick’s Day is a widely celebrated feast day in honor of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is celebrated on March 17th every year and is a public holiday in Ireland. The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day has also become popular in other parts of the world, especially in areas with a large Irish diaspora.

One of the most well-known traditions of St. Patrick’s Day is wearing green clothing and accessories. People often dress in green attire, and it is common to see green decorations throughout the day. This tradition is said to honor the “wearing of the green,” which symbolizes Ireland and its rich heritage.

Parades are another prominent feature of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The largest and most famous parade takes place in Dublin, Ireland, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world. These parades typically feature marching bands, colorful floats, and various performances, creating a festive and lively atmosphere.

Irish music and dancing are also integral parts of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Traditional Irish music can often be heard during parades and events, with many Irish pubs hosting live performances throughout the day. Irish step dancing, known for its intricate footwork and lively rhythms, is also commonly showcased during St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Another popular tradition on St. Patrick’s Day is the consumption of traditional Irish food and drinks. Corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, and Irish stew are commonly enjoyed dishes. Guinness, the famous Irish stout, is also a popular choice for celebratory drinks. Many people also celebrate by enjoying Irish-themed desserts, such as shamrock-shaped cookies or green-colored treats.

In addition to these traditions, St. Patrick’s Day is a time for Irish people to celebrate their culture and heritage. It is a day to honor St. Patrick and to recognize the contributions of Irish people around the world. Whether through attending a parade, enjoying traditional Irish food, or simply wearing green, St. Patrick’s Day is a time for joy and celebration.

Feast of St. Brigid

The Feast of St. Brigid is celebrated on February 1st, which falls within the Lenten season. St. Brigid, also known as Brigid of Kildare, is one of the most beloved Irish saints. She is considered to be one of the patron saints of Ireland along with St. Patrick and St. Columba.

St. Brigid’s feast day is a significant event in Ireland and is associated with many traditions and customs. It marks the beginning of spring, and St. Brigid is often celebrated as the protector of fertility, healing, and poetry.

One prominent tradition associated with the Feast of St. Brigid is the making of St. Brigid’s crosses. These crosses are woven from rushes or straw and are said to bring protection and good luck to the home. It is customary for families to hang these crosses in their houses on St. Brigid’s feast day.

Another popular tradition is the lighting of St. Brigid’s candles. These candles are lit in homes and churches to honor the saint and to invoke her blessings for the coming year. It is believed that the flame of these candles represents the light and warmth of St. Brigid’s spirit.

Feast Day Date
St. Brigid’s Feast Day February 1st

The Feast of St. Brigid is not a day of strict fasting or abstinence like some other days during Lent. It is a joyful celebration of St. Brigid’s life and her importance in Irish culture and spirituality.

Overall, the Feast of St. Brigid is a cherished tradition in Ireland and serves as a reminder of the rich spiritual heritage of the Irish people. It is a time to honor St. Brigid’s legacy and to seek her intercession for blessings and protection.

Feast of St. David

The Feast of St. David is a celebration of the patron saint of Wales, St. David, who is believed to have lived in the 6th century. The feast takes place on March 1st, which marks the anniversary of his death. St. David is known for his contributions to the spread of Christianity in Wales and for establishing monastic settlements.

The Feast of St. David is an important event in Welsh culture, with celebrations taking place across the country. It is customary for people to wear daffodils or leeks, which are national symbols of Wales, on this day. The St. David’s Cross, which is a yellow cross on a black background, is also displayed during the celebrations.

During the feast, special church services are held to honor St. David, and traditional Welsh hymns and prayers are sung. In addition to religious observances, the feast is also a time for cultural events, including parades, concerts, and traditional folk dances.

Traditional Welsh food is often enjoyed during the Feast of St. David, with dishes such as cawl (a hearty soup), Welsh lamb, and Welsh cakes being popular choices. Many people also take the opportunity to try traditional Welsh beverages, such as Welsh whisky and Welsh ale.

The Feast of St. David is a time for the Welsh people to come together to honor their patron saint and celebrate their shared culture and heritage. It is a joyful and festive occasion that is eagerly anticipated each year.

Feast of St. Brendan

The Feast of St. Brendan is celebrated on May 16th, which falls outside of the Lenten season. St. Brendan, also known as Brendan the Navigator, is one of the most famous Irish saints. He is believed to have lived from 484 to 577 AD and is known for his legendary voyages.

The feast day of St. Brendan is a time to honor his life and the incredible adventures he embarked on. He is said to have set sail on a remarkable journey in search of the “Isle of the Blessed” or the “Promised Land of the Saints.” His voyages are legendary and have inspired many tales and legends.

This feast day is marked by special Masses and religious services held in churches and monasteries throughout Ireland. It is a time for people to reflect on St. Brendan’s courage, faith, and the spirit of exploration.

Feast of St. Brendan
Date May 16th
Origin 6th century AD, Ireland
Celebrated By Catholics, Irish communities
Significance Honoring the life and adventures of St. Brendan

The Feast of St. Brendan is an important celebration in Ireland and is cherished by the Irish people. It serves as a reminder of the great achievements of this legendary saint and his contributions to Irish history and culture.

Feast of St. Finnian

The Feast of St. Finnian is celebrated during the season of Lent in Ireland. This feast commemorates the life and contributions of St. Finnian, also known as Finnian of Clonard. He was a renowned Irish abbot and one of the “Twelve Apostles of Ireland.”

St. Finnian was born in the 5th century and is believed to have studied under St. David of Wales and St. Gildas. After receiving an education in Wales, he returned to Ireland and founded the monastic school of Clonard in County Meath. This school became a prominent center of learning and spirituality in Ireland.

The Feast of St. Finnian is an occasion to honor his teachings and his dedication to spreading the Christian faith. It is a time for reflection and spiritual renewal, as the Irish people remember the profound impact St. Finnian had on their religious and cultural heritage.

On this feast day, many Irish communities hold special ceremonies and Masses to commemorate St. Finnian’s life and teachings. People may visit holy wells or pilgrimage sites associated with St. Finnian, seeking his intercession and blessings.

Traditionally, the feast is also a time of feasting and celebration. Families and friends gather together to share a meal, often including traditional Irish dishes such as colcannon, corned beef, and soda bread. It is a time to come together in gratitude for the blessings of faith and community.

The Feast of St. Finnian serves as a reminder of the rich spiritual heritage of Ireland and the important role that saints played in shaping its religious landscape. It is a time to remember the teachings and examples of St. Finnian, and to strive for spiritual growth and renewal during the season of Lent.

Feast of St. Mel

The Feast of St. Mel is a significant celebration in the Irish Catholic calendar, taking place during the season of Lent. It is celebrated on February 7th each year.

St. Mel, also known as Mael, was a bishop in the 5th century in Ireland. He played a prominent role in spreading Christianity and establishing monastic communities throughout the country.

The Feast of St. Mel is a day to honor and remember the life and contributions of this beloved saint. It is a time for prayer, reflection, and thanksgiving for his dedication to the faith.

On this day, many activities take place in honor of St. Mel. People attend Mass, where the life and teachings of the saint are celebrated. Special prayers and hymns are sung, and the gospel readings focus on the themes of faith, perseverance, and the role of the saints in the Catholic tradition.

Additionally, the Feast of St. Mel is an occasion for people to come together and engage in acts of charity and service. They may visit the sick and elderly, give donations to the poor, or volunteer their time in local outreach programs.

It is also common for families and friends to gather for a festive meal, featuring traditional Irish dishes. This shared meal is an opportunity for fellowship and celebration of the saint’s life and legacy.

Throughout the day, the story of St. Mel is retold, emphasizing his virtues and the impact he had on the Irish people. His dedication to spreading the Gospel and establishing monastic communities continues to inspire individuals to live a life of faith and service.

The Feast of St. Mel is a time for the Irish Catholic community to come together in unity, prayer, and celebration. It serves as a reminder of the rich history and traditions of the faith, as well as the enduring legacy of those who have devoted their lives to serving God and others.


Trent Horn – Why do Catholics pray to the saints in heaven?

Photo of author

Felicity Long

Felicity Long, a seasoned travel journalist with 15+ years of experience, specializes in exploring Europe, family travel, and skiing, as evident in her book "Great Escapes: New England" (The Countryman Press). She edits the Europe eNewsletter and contributes significantly to TravelAsker's destinations sections. Felicity has received esteemed awards, including the Cacique and Yo Leonardo Awards, in recognition of her outstanding international travel writing accomplishments.

Leave a Comment