Today it’s Imbolc, let’s celebrate it!

Imbolc is a Gaelic traditional festival that celebrates the beginning of spring. Since the beginning of the spreading of Christianity in Ireland, it is also the feast of Saint Brigid, the country’s patron saint.

It gets celebrated between the 1st and the 2nd of February, halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The tradition comes from Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man, where Imbolc is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, with Beltaine (celebrated between May 1st and 2nd), Lughnasadh (celebrated August 1st and 2nd), and Samhain (celebrated between October 31st and November 1st).

We have literary evidence of Imbolc in early Irish literature (since the 10th century), and Imbolc was originally associated with the lambing season, the beginning of lactation, and the idea of rebirth.

Image taken from Internet

Imbolc was also a series of celebrations to honor the pagan goddess Brigid, who was associated with fertility but also with poetry, crafts, and prophecy. She was venerated as one of the most powerful Celtic gods, being the daughter of the Dagda, the oldest god and the chief of the Celtic pantheon Tuatha dé Danann.

Brigid appears in the saga Cath Maige Tuired and also in the Lebor Gabála Érenn, a history of early Ireland made up of poems and texts of the 10th century.

Celebrations comprise making a Brigid Cross, to be hung over doors, windows, and stables to evoke Brigid’s protection against fire, lightning, illness, and evil spirits and entities, leaving offers to the saint in her visiting the homes of the believers, and in blessing the house and the family members with water coming from a well.

Imbolc was typically a day for initiation rituals.

Today is also celebrated as Groundhog’s day in the USA and as Candlemas (commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple) by Christians.


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