Wednesday 25 March 2009

The Feast of Our Lady in Spring

Today is known in the Irish Language as Lá Fhéile Muire san Earrach (the Feast Day of Our Lady in Spring) or Lá Theachtaireacht an Aingil (the Day of the Coming of the Angel).

The unequalled love of the Gaelic Race for the Mother of God is woven into the very words of everyday language. Even as the Anglophone will speak of Mary-down-the-street and Mary-the-Ever-Virgin-Mother-of-God by means of the same word, the Gael will call his neighbour Máire and the Immaculate Queen of Heaven Muire.

The Mother of God was a practical part of everyday life, as shown in the traditional Gaelic Milking Song or Cronan Bleoghan:

Thig, a Mhuire, ’s bligh a bhó,
Thig, a Bhride, ’s comraig í,
Thig, a Choluim-chille chaoimh,

’S iadh do dhá laimh mo m’ bhóin.

Thig, a Mhuire, dh’ fhios mo bhó,
Thig, a Bhride, mhór na loin,

Thig, a bhanachaig Íosa Críost,
’S cur do lámh a níos fo m’ bhóin.

This roughly translates as:

Come, O Mary, and milk my cow,
Come, St. Brigid, and attend her,
Come, St. Columba, the kind one,
And in thy two hands cradle my cow.

Come, O Mary, to meet my cow,
Come, St. Brigid, great of beauty,
Come, O milking woman of Jesus Christ,
And put thy hand beneath my cow.

*The image of the Annunciation on this post is the Cestello Annunciation on tempera by Sandro Botticelli c. 1490 in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

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