Imbolc_Festival_February_3rd_2007

Imbolc Ireland

 
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ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
One of the 4 Celtic Fire Festivals. Commemorates the changing of the Goddess from the Crone to the Maiden. Celebrates the first signs of Spring. Also called "Imbolc" (the old Celtic name).
This is the seasonal change where the first signs of spring and the return of the sun are noted, i.e. the first sprouting of leaves, the sprouting of the Crocus flowers etc. In other words, it is the festival commemorating the successful passing of winter and the beginning of the agricultural year. This festival also marks the transition point of the threefold Goddess energies from those of Crone to Maiden.
 
It is the day that we celebrate the passing of Winter and make way for Spring. It is the day we honour the rebirth of the Sun and we may visualize the baby sun nursing from the Goddess's breast. It is also a day of celebrating the Celtic Goddess Brigid. Brigid is the Goddess of Poetry, Healing, Smithcraft, and Midwifery. If you can make it with your hands, Brigid rules it. She is a triple Goddess, so we honour her in all her aspects. This is a time for communing with her, and tending the lighting of her sacred flame. At this time of year, Wiccans will light multiple candles, white for Brigid, for the god usually yellow or red, to remind us of the passing of winter and the entrance into spring, the time of the Sun. This is a good time for initiations, be they into covens or self-initiations.
Imbolc marks the recovery of the Goddess after giving birth to the God. The lengthening periods of light awaken Her. The God is a young, lusty boy, but His power is felt in the longer days. The warmth fertilizes the Earth (the Goddess), and causes seeds to germinate and sprout. And so the earliest beginnings of Spring occur.
This is a Sabbat of purification after the shut-in life of Winter, through the renewing power of the Sun. It is also a festival of light and of fertility, once marked in Europe with huge blazes, torches and fire in every form. Fire here represents our own illumination and inspiration as much as light and warmth. Imbolc is also known as Feast of Torches, Oimelc, Lupercalia, Feast of Pan, Snowdrop Festival, Feast of the Waxing Light, Brighid's Day, and probably by many other names.
Today, we see remnants of these past pagan festivals in several modern festivals. The Catholic Church in Ireland celebrates the Feast of Saint Brigid. while St. Blaize is celebrated in France. Both, like the Goddess Brigid, are associated with healing and the use of candles/fire. Candlemas is the church’s festival that honors the Virgin Mary and the presentation of Jesus at the temple. During the festival, candles are blessed and lit, then carried in a procession.

During the Middle Ages, German farmers would watch for a badger to see his shadow, in order to predict when spring would arrive. When their descendents later immigrated to Pennsylvania, they adapted the tradition and searched for a ground hog instead. Today, Ground Hog Day has become an American cultural tradition.

But the Ground Hog is not the only animal associated with this ancient pagan celebration. Birds too, were linked to these February dates. Among the Celts, the singing of a lark at this time of year signified the early arrival of spring and thereby the Sun-God. Legend also tells us that birds were said to choose their mates at this time.

With talk of mate choosing, fertility and love, it is quiet easy to see where Valentine’s Day takes its roots, especially when we understand the strategic placement of holidays by the Catholic Church. 
Date
Sun Feb 02, 2020
Map
St Brigid's Park
Liscannor
Ireland
AlsoKnownAs
Candlemas, Feast of Torches, Oimelc, Lupercalia, Feast of Pan, Snowdrop Festival, Feast of the Waxing Light, Brighid's Day, and probably by many other names.
Founded by
Gaels (Irish people, Scottish people, Manx people, Celtic neopagans and Wiccans)

Official Links

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Arts & Acts

Imbolc is traditionally the great festival and honoring of Brigid (Brighid, Bride, Brigit), so loved as a pagan Goddess that her worship was woven into the Christian church as St Bridget. She is a Goddess of healing, poetry and smith craft. She is a Goddess of Fire, of the Sun and of the Hearth. She brings fertility to the land and its people and is closely connected to midwives and new-born babies. She is the Triple Goddess, but at Imbolc she is in her Maiden aspect.
Some of the symbols attributed to Brigid are:
  • The Snowdrop. The first gift of Spring in the bleakness of Winter.
  • The Swan. The swan mates for life and represents loyalty, fidelity and faithfulness. Swan feathers are a powerful amulet.
  • The Flame. Imbolc is a Fire Festival and fire of all kinds is associated with Brigid - the fire of creativity, the protective hearth fire, and her fire wheel - the Brigid Cross, which heralds her as a Sun Goddess.
  • Brigid's Cross. This is a traditional fire wheel symbol - found at the hearths of homes throughout Ireland and beyond as a symbol of protection. A customer in the shop recounted finding a hearth in Ireland, in recent years, adorned with over 200 Brigid Crosses - 200 years in the life of a hearth and a family, overlit and protected by Brigid.
  • Brigid Doll. A very old tradition involved the making of a Brigid doll which can be included in ceremony and/or placed in 'Bride's Bed' to bring fertility and good fortune to the home.
  • The Serpent. In Celtic mythology Brigid was associated with an awakening hibernating serpent which emerged from its lair at Imbolc. Traditionally serpents were associated with creativity and inspiration - the powerful Kundalini energy of the Eastern Mysteries. Paths of earth energy were called serpent paths and at Imbolc they are stirred from their slumber.
  • Sheep. Brigid's festival is at the beginning of lambing - eat ewe's milk cheese!
  • Imbolc Colors: White and silver for purity, green for the fresh burst of life.
Imbolc Lore
It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house - if only for a few moments. Or, light candles in each room in honour of the Sun’s rebirth. Alternately, light a kerosene lamp with a red chimney and place this in a prominent part of the home or in a window.
If snow lies on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, recalling the warmth of summer. With your projective hand, trace an image of the Sun on the snow.
Foods appropriate to eat on this day include those from the dairy, since Imbolc marks the festival of calving. Sour cream dishes are fine. Spicy and full-bodied foods in honour of the Sun are equally attuned. Curries and all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic or chives are appropriate. Spiced wines and dishes containing raisins - all foods symbolic of the Sun - are also traditional.
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