Imbolc is the celebration of the first day of Spring in the Celtic Calendar…(see the calendar in my bookstore link at the top of the page).
The celebration begins on the evening before with a fire…this is a fire festival!
All ancient Celtic Festivals begin at sunset on the evening before.
Feast and fire go together.
Bread is an important part of the feast on Imbolc.
Homemade Soda Bread is a particular favourite here in Ireland!
The west of Ireland enjoys milder weather and the warming of the Atlantic ocean, so many plants are early to grow and lambs are born earlier too.
Imbolc means “in the belly” and “first milk”referring to new life and mother’s milk which sustains new life.
Imbolc is also the celebration of Brigid, ancient Goddess and once Christian Saint…though no longer recognised as a saint by the RC Church. (Her name was removed along with other saints including St Christopher, by the Vatican some years ago). As Brigid was one of ninety-three saints removed from the universal calendar in 1969 she also had her feast day officially revoked. So, technically, 1 February is no longer St. Brigid’s Day. But She remains our Brigid, Goddess and great Abbess!
…That’s when her name was formally expunged from the list of saints by the Vatican. That meant she also had her feast day officially revoked too.
However, our Irish government has declared Brigid should be honoured with an annual holiday, a bank holiday, on the first Monday in February!
As the saying goes, “you can’t keep a good woman down!”