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On the Eve of Imbolc…
Imbolc is a time to celebrate the promise of Spring and to think about planting…
Imbolc, or St Brigid’s Day Lá Fhéile Bríde, is an Irish festival marking the beginning of spring.
Imbolc is celebrated on the 1st day of February, the date that falls approximately halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.
The holiday was, and for many still is, a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring.
Celebrations are focused around hearth fires, special foods, as in a family dinner or feast, candles, invoking a sense of the light to come…
“The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.”
Fire and purification are an important aspect of this festival.
Brigid is the Gaelic goddess of poetry, healing and smith-craft.
As both goddess and saint she is also associated with holy wells, sacred flames, and healing.
The lighting of candles and fires represents the return of warmth and the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months.
Brigid is said to walk the earth on Imbolc eve.
Before going to bed, each member of the household may leave a piece of clothing or strip of cloth outside for Brigid to bless.
The head of the household will smother (or “smoor”) the fire and rake the ashes smooth.
In the morning, they look for some kind of mark on the ashes, a sign that Brigid has passed that way in the night or morning.
The clothes or strips of cloth are brought inside, and believed to now have powers of healing and protection.
Traditionally, a cross made from pulled rushes is hung inside the home each Imbolc.
You can find these at the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop, at the right side of this page.