Thursday, February 01, 2007

Celtic Spring

Imbolc is one of the principal festivals of the Celtic calendar. In Scotland the festival is also known as Latha Fhèill Brìghd (the Feast of St. Brigid). Another name is Oimelc, meaning "ewe's milk."

Imbolc is traditionally a time of weather prognostication, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens is perhaps a precursor to Groundhog Day.

Thig an nathair as an toll
La donn Bride,
Ged robh tri traighean dh’ an
Air leachd an lair.

"The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground."

The holiday is a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Rituals often involve hearthfires, special foods, divination or simply watching for omens (whether performed in all seriousness or as children's games), a great deal of candles and perhaps an outdoor bonfire if the weather permits.

Celebrate this day of another turning of the seasons.


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