Imbolc is an Irish celebration beginning on the evening of February 1st and continuing through February 2nd.
Imbolc was derived from the word, Imblog which means in the belly. This is important for the Celts as they were an agricultural culture. The Celts celebrated Imbolc as the half-way point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. This tradition was started during the 10th century and is one of Ireland’s four meaningful celebrations.
A crucial aspect of the celebration was honoring Brighid the Goddess. Brigid meaning the exalted one embraces the element of fire. Her association with fire had worshippers calling her the Triple Goddess, for her fires, of inspiration, hearth, and forge. Mother Earth is another representation of Brigid. There are paintings of her underground and life coming from her belly to produce growth above ground. Brigid is associated with fertility, poetry, crafts, and poetic societies were formed to worship her.
With the spread of Christianity, there are stories of Brigid of Kildare. The Catholic church claims Brigid was a real person who was very caring of the poor and had magical healing powers. With no intention of marrying, Brigid started a monastery and became Ireland’s first nun.
The Catholic church made her saint, and she is now referred to as Saint Brigid. After death, she still had magical properties in her, and a church in Spain claims to have her skull and hands.
Imbolc never became a hit world-wide like Samhain and usually celebrated privately. Wiccans and other pagan groups consider Imbolc a Sabbat and usually worship and use the same customs before Christianity. Wiccans will make Brigid dolls and Brigid crosses along with having a candle festival. It is crucial to recognize agriculture, new life, and the quickening during Imbolc.