Years ago this was always the most neglected of pagan holidays-at least it appeared that way to me in the local community. It’s nice to see an article like this in a general interest publication like HuffPo. I’m a bit isolated from actual interaction with humans so I may be missing a lot, but it seems like society is becoming more open and accepting of difference.
I love seeing all the interfaith initiatives, and so many people speaking out in respect of traditions other than their own. Tolerance, like compromise, is one of the fundamental necessities of a functional society.
Even though the evidence of ending and collapse is all around us now, Imbolc’s meaning is more relevant this year than ever before in my lifetime. The seeds of the new world are sprouting everywhere.
From the community coming together effectively to stop the ebola outbreak in Liberia, to the new Women’s mosque opening in California, to the incredible rise of activism and awareness in the children and youth today; the signs are everywhere.
Have a Blessed Imbolc and a beautiful Spring ( Autumn for those on the Southern side-I’ve always wondered, are the cross quarter holidays celebrated differently in the South? As in, since this holiday is in summer there is it celebrated as Lughnasa for the harvest? It has always seemed odd to me trying to celebrate “winter” holidays in the subtropical region. I imagine how much more odd it would be to have Spring celebrations in the end of summer or harvest festivals in Spring!)
Imbolc 2015: Facts, Dates, Traditions And Rituals To Know
HuffPost Religion Editors
The Huffington Post Posted: 02/02/15 09:33 AM ET Updated: 02/02/15 09:59 AM ET
For many in the U.S., the only ‘religious’ event this time of year is the Super Bowl. But for many pagans and Wiccans, February 2 marks the important holiday, Imbolc, and their attention may be focused somewhere other than the television screen.
1. Imbolc is one of fourmajor pagan sabbats, or holidays, along with Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. In between these sabbats, pagans celebrate the seasonal solstices and equinoxes.
2. Imbolc ispronounced “IM-bulk” or “EM-bowlk.”
3. Imbolc falls on the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Although it isattributed to the ancient Celts, ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and indigenous groups are also believed to have celebrated an equivalent holiday.
4. Nowadays Imbolc may be related toCandlemas and Groundhog Day, and indeed there is evidence from early Irish lore surroundingweather divination this time of year.
5. Also called Brigid’s Day, Imbolc honors the Celtic goddess of fire, fertility, midwifery and the young. Many Pagans will pay tribute to Brigid by arranging an altar and ‘invoking’ the goddess through prayer.
6. The term ‘Imbolc’derives from Old Irishand means “in the belly,” or alternately “ewe’s milk.” The interpretation lends significance to the holiday as a celebration of fertility, reproduction and the young — all overseen by the goddess Brigid.
7. Imbolc observes thewaning of winter and approach of spring. Pagans often use fire and other forms of light to encourage the lengthening of day. Seed and bud imagery may be used, as well, to promote the growth of new life ensured by springtime.
8. As with many pagan holidays, food and music are essential. Dishes for Imbolc tend to incorporate seeds, dairy and other spring-evoking foods.
9. Celebrants oftenprepare talismans to use during Imbolc ceremonies and then keep in their homes. These include a Brideog — a small straw doll dressed in white cloth — and a Brigid’s Cross, also often woven from straw.
10. Imbolc is a time forspring cleaning. Some clean their homes, take ritual baths and de-clutter their lives in other ways. This is believed to create space for the goddess to come into people’s live and for new seeds to take root in the coming spring.