As the Wheel of the Year turns, we find ourselves with Imbolc upon us again. Regardless of your religion, you celebrate Imbolc, the ancient Pagan holiday embracing the coming of Spring.
Also known as St. Brigid’s Day, it is held on February 2nd. While it is still cold in February, the days are growing longer, the ground is warming up, and we feel the hands of Mother Nature readying the world for new growth.
Many different cultures have taken part in this holiday throughout the ages giving it many alternate names. The Romans called it Lupercalia. Egyptians called it The Feast of the Nut. It was called St Brigid’s Day when Ireland was converted to Christianity. The church allowed them to honor the Goddess Brigid as a Saint and they renamed the holiday. Christians still celebrate it as Candlemas, the day of purification of the Virgin Mary.
The rituals of Imbolc depend on your religious or spiritual traditions. Many Pagans set up an alter with special symbolic items placed about to honor Brigid the Goddess of fire and fertility. Red and white are the colors associated with Brigid. Ribbons flowers and candles of these colors can be part of your Imbolc alter. You can also use an alter cloth of these colors specifically for this holiday ritual. Anything that embraces the theme of the coming season makes a good addition such as seeds and bulbs. A crown made of flowers and candles can also be fashioned and used at the alter.
St Brigid’s Cross is an intricate cross woven in Celtic knots. Many Pagans makes them at this time of year and hang upon their doors. Any symbol of Celtic knotwork will also work. Small cornhusk dolls are a symbol of Imbolc as well. They can be made and put on the alter or window sill. The dolls represent St. Brigid as the Spring Bride so dress her up in white and flowers.
The feast is a big part of Imbolc. Traditionally, foods associated with hearth and home are served. This feast includes plenty of breads and grains with a lot of fall veggies like potatoes and onions. Spring lambs are often served as well.
Imbolc is a holiday every religion and every culture has celebrated by their own names and tradition. Invite a bit of Spring blessing into your own home by expressing your gratitude for the warmer months ahead.
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