February 1, 2017
Imbolc is a Celtic holiday that celebrates the coming of spring, as the days get longer and the very first buds make an appearance. It’s still celebrated today in Ireland, as folks make St. Brigid’s crosses and hang them over their doors for protection. This day is another in a long line of special days celebrating light, or perhaps more exactly, the return of light, as the shortest day of the year recedes into the rearview mirror. These festivals are ripe with new beginnings and directly or indirectly reference light: Winter solstice (the days start lengthening again), Christmas (Christian adoption of the solstice celebration, literally adding lights to trees and other objects, Hanukkah (the Festival of Lights), New Year’s (fireworks and sparklers, perhaps), now Imbolc. (Thank you to a yogi friend for pointing out this connection to me recently).
Imbolc falls halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, so this is the last of the light festivals, since soon we can celebrate spring itself!
I’m grateful for any chance to make a new start. This year, I’m especially starved for it.