Ahead of the feast day of Ireland's female patron saint, Brigid, IrishCentral and Herstory share the responses to their survey "Are there aspects of Irish culture and womanhood that we have lost and/or need to preserve? "
In honor of Brigid's Day, Feb 1, IrishCentral and Herstory asked the world "What it means to be an Irish woman?" and the results of our survey were beautiful and surprising. We wanted to reach out to women on the island of Ireland and the Irish diaspora at large to find out what makes the venerable Irish woman tick. We asked them about their influences, life lessons, and how they feel connected to the island of Ireland.
The IrishCentral and Herstory survey had responses from all over the United States, and from Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
In the run of up to St. Brigid's Day, we will share some of the Irish community's responses to our questions and this is the first...
What aspects of Irish culture and womanhood that we need to preserve?
"Ireland needs to preserve their music in their pubs. Not these rock and roll bands.
"I think the Irish faith, music, and old traditions and storytelling need to stay intact."
"The Ireland of my childhood was one of 'who you know culture', that impacted on the opportunity in education and work. You needed then, to find a few good people to give you a lift up to grasp a chance. It seemed chances came easily for those born to better circumstances...
"I would have loved to have learned more of the Irish language in school. I didn't feel it was a loved language in those days. Children now can be taught to embrace it and find its beauty. It is a tremendously lyrical and beautiful tongue. If we love our language, we will find the inherent love of nature. And, intrinsic to love of nature is respect.
"Valuing Irish culture in all its multifaceted strands is important. I believe connection with land needs to be taught. If we know our roots well, we can embrace culture more easily. We can be at ease with our own identity and whatever life throws at us, or where ever we plant our feet to live. Preserving that light of opportunity in young minds is essential from an early age."
"The folklore!! The little people! The so-called superstitions and wivesâ€™ tales I know so well!"
"I worry that old cooking skills and recipes are being lost, not just for women though."
"We need to be more mindful of the wisdom of the ancient goddesses and be more in tune with nature."
"Preserve the fairies and leprechauns. The myths. The legends. Do not let the past be buried by the need for facts and truth. They both have their place and make us who we are."
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"Spirituality. The kind that is deeper than religion. The kind that flows through our blood, that we too often ignore. But is, in fact, the source of our identity and abilities to keep surviving."
"The make-and-do techniques and skills are at risk of being lost as we rely on commercial culture. Sustainable practices are a generation behind us and very adaptable but most don't have them."
"Our mythical Celtic goddess stories resonate with our lives as women today. Connection to the land, nature, and our place in this cosmos helps us find meaning beyond the patriarchal binaries we grew up with. By accepting that everything is cyclical and living with nature, we can find meaning and inspiration to create, love and thrive."
"I do think the art of baking my nanny's soda bread is something I will be teaching my kids. As New Year has just passed, I'm also reminded of what I discovered to be an Irish tradition last night when my English husband at his first Irish NYE did not know what we were at- we opened the back door to let the old year out, opened the front door and rattled our bells to ring in the New Year and said happy new year to our neighbors. I think we need to keep our musical culture alive, and having a good sing song at the end of the night. "
"The fear of the Irish Mammy. There are so many successful yet humble Irish people abroad because of Irish Mammies keeping us grounded."
"I wish I had grown up learning Irish dance. I was lucky to learn many songs in school and when I taught in the seventies we sang them too."