1 February marks St Brigid's Day in Ireland, an occasion to celebrate the country's only female patron saint - and Irish women in general - and now an official Irish public holiday.

Saint Brigid is one of the three patron saints of Ireland, along with Saint Patrick and Saint Columba (or Saint Columcille). Last year, the Irish goverment decided to designate St Brigid's Day as a new permanent public holiday, starting from 2023. This Irish public holiday will be observed on the first Monday in February each year, except in the case where St Brigid's Day itself (1 February) falls on a Friday - the public holiday will then take place on Friday 1 February.

This year's St Brigid's Day public holiday in Ireland is set for Monday 6 February 2023. A variety of cultural events will take place across the country on the occasion of this first public holiday in honour of Ireland's only female patron saint.

In the Grand Duchy, which is home to 2,369 Irish nationals (as of 1 January 2022, according to STATEC), the Irish Club of Luxembourg (ICL) is organising a St Brigid's Day dinner at Eirelux Irish Pub & Restaurant in Howald on Wednesday 1 February 2023.

Speaking to Chronicle.lu, the Irish Ambassador to Luxembourg, Stephen Dawson, confirmed that the Embassy of Ireland in Luxembourg is mainly focusing its efforts on organising its National Day reception on St Patrick's Day on 17 March; this year will mark the first such in-person reception in four years. Whilst the Embassy will mark St Brigid's Day on social media, Ambassador Dawson clarified that "it is not the intention to try and have a second National Day on St Brigid's Day; it remains, as it has been, an occasion for commemoration by Irish people, rather than State-led." He noted that the Embassy would be attending the ICL St Brigid's Day dinner on Wednesday, adding: "We hope everyone enjoys the day."

As Ambassador Dawson explained, the recognition of St Brigid's Day as a public holiday is the result of "the increasing popularity in Ireland in recent years, and among Irish people around the world, in using that date particularly to mark the role and achievements of Irish women in society and through history."

"In fact, Brigid is not only the first Irish woman to be honoured by a national public holiday, but actually the first Irish person to be so honoured - St Patrick of course came to Ireland from Britain," he continued. "[Brigid] was an extremely important figure in the early Christian church in Ireland, and a figure of veneration ever since then."

St Brigid’s Day has its origins in the Celtic festival of Imbolc and traditionally marks the arrival of spring in Ireland. Around the 5th century AD, with the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, various old pagan traditions, such as those associated with Brigid, were adopted into and adapted to these imported religious beliefs - Brigid became known as a saint who set up a monastery in Kildare. Some St Brigid's Day customs remain today, for example making St Brigid's crosses, whilst others (such as parades) have witnessed a revival in Ireland in recent years.