Festival of Imbolc

Published: Saturday, 1 February 2014 , contact Patrick on Facebook or Email.

On the first or second day of February, many folk like to celebrate the ancient festival of Imbolc. This is the festival of The Maiden, one of the three major Pagan goddesses, the others being The Mother and The Crone. Imbolc marks the time when people in the Northern hemisphere are half-way through the darkest part of the year. It is the time when The Crone of winter turns into the Maiden, who heralds spring. The Maiden can also be a named Goddess, and many Pagans choose to celebrate the goddess Brighid (also known as Bridget, Brigit or Brigindo), at this time. Brighid is the Goddess of healing, poetry, fertility and smiths. She is associated with swans and cows, and is the daughter of Dagda. Since she is the guardian of the sacred flame, many of her followers place lit candles in the windows of their homes. Oddly, the second of February is also the Christian festival of Candlemas, which also involves candles - but more about that later. In Ireland, this is the time of year when people make distinctive crosses known as Bride’s or Brigit’s crosses. During the 5th century, the Christian church decided to replace the Roman purification festival of Februa, with something more to its taste, so it decided that the second of February should become Candlemas Day. This festival celebrated the moment when Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary, was purified after giving birth (giving birth made women ritually unclean, even if the baby happened to be the son of God). During the festival, women who had given birth during the previous year attended the church carrying lighted candles.

Festival of Imbolc
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