Imbolc - Candlemas 2nd February Celebrate the real first day of Spring. British Traditions
Imbolc bringer of Spring
Imbolc, in the ancient Celtic calender was a very important celebration. Being midway between winter and summer, Imbolc is the renewing of the Earth, praying that the seeds will grow and making sure that the lambs and foals would be born. The most important part of Imbolc was the performing of rituals so that they had enough food until the summers months. By the time of February 1st, food was scarce and the animals needed sufficient fuel for their babies to be born. It is believed that the word Imbolc comes from the old Celtic word for ewe's milk (Oi-melc). Some say the day to perform the rituals is on the 1st of February, some say the second. Most people got around this by ensuing the celebrations went on for two days.
The lighting of fires was the most symbolic act, calling down the God's and elements to warm the earth and bring forth light and life. Fire was the symbol of the Holy day of Brigid, also known as Bride, Brigit, Brid, who was the Goddess of fire, healing and of course fertility. She was worshipped for century's before the Christian Priests came and took over the pagan land, religion and beliefs, turning them into their God's, Saints and Holy men and women. Hence Brigid, Goddess of Fire became the celebration of Candlemas when candles are lit to remember the purification of the Virgin Mary.
When Christians took over the sacred festival of Brigid, Goddess of Fire, they renamed her, St. Brigit. Today, Christians celebrate Candlemas with fire and candles, in fact St. Brigit's candle's were continuously burned by nuns to celebrate her light with fire. There are so many Pagan Gods and Goddesses taken over by the Christian church in this way. I don't believe that this is a bad thing, I think it is a lovely way of carrying on the tradition in a way that is comfortable to every religion and race.
Imbolc Festival of Fire Bring in the Spring from Amazon
Bringer of Spring
Spring is a wonderful time, probably the loveliest of all seasons. We have come through the dark winter, and can now look forward to warmth and life, the smell of beautiful flowers and baby animals being born. It is the Cycle of Life. Flowers begin to show their heads in February, pushing up slowly through the ground, peeking out precariously, always aware of frost or late snow. But it endures. Life is awakening, and there is joy to be had just looking and watching the changing of the animals behaviour, and the trees seeming to stretch and wake as if after a long nights sleep. You begin to hear birds singing in the trees again, as you awake near dawn. And the smell of the grass begins to come back, bringing with it a sense of summer. Feeling excited we run downstairs and open windows, breathing in the new dawn of the fresh spring air. Most people don't even think of spring appearing until at least the end of March. This is what has been taught over the last century, and this is what they have ingrained in their minds. Don't listen to them, listen to the Earth telling you that Imbolc is the first day of Spring. Open your eyes and you will see, breath in, and you will smell, and open your ears, because the animals will tell you.
The Marsden Imbolc Festival
Marsden Imbolc Festival.
The Marsden Imbolc Festival is celebrated every year, in the Pennine hills of Yorkshire, England. Included is a fantastic torch lit procession, fire circus skills, theatrical performance, and a fireworks display. Can't ask for more than that!
On the night of the festival, a torch lit procession begins at the Old Goods Yard in the village. The Huddersfield Narrow Canal is lit up by loads of lanterns and over 2000 people attend. The procession is lead by drummers and everyone makes their way to the Standedge Experience ground.
With Jack Frost fighting with the Green Man of spring, the crowd watch the battle waiting for The Green Man to win over the icy snows of winter, Jack Frost. The evening is finished of by a fantastic display of Fireworks.
Imbolc Spring Traditions
Did you know that spring cleaning comes from this festival of fire? the symbolic cleaning of your house, which is now traditionally done in many parts of the world, actually comes from Brigid Goddess of Fire, or St. Brigit, as Christians now know her. It was not only the cleaning of your house that was important, it was also the de-cluttering of your mind and habits! New promises were made, and resolutions were written down and burned, so as to make them come true. Hearth fires were lit, and kept tended, and doilies, small dolls made out of sheaf of oats, or wheat, were dressed in women's clothes and buried in the earth as a fertility rite. These were called Bridie dolls in honour of Brigid the Goddess, or St. Brigit. The dolls were sometimes placed on the doorsteps of women hoping to become pregnant, as a sign of fertility, to help the women conceive. And of course, a white candle was burned throughout the night in celebration and blessing to the Goddess or St. Brigit. Another form of feasting was thought to have taken place, using the docked tails of lambs in a celebratory dish.
Planting spring flowers, reading poetry, and telling stories, along with candle making is another part of the ancient tradition. Why not try it yourself? The children would love it, and of course it is also a Christian tradition too!
Imbolc Pagan Style
Contrary to popular believe, Pagans believe in God and the tending of the Earth. Every Imbolc Eve, The Festival of Fire is still celebrated. These rituals are still very popular and take place every year. Processions through the streets, with fire torches, dancing and just having a great time still do take place. Pagans believe in being in tune with nature, and respecting all forms of life given by God. That is why you will find that many people involved today with conservation of one species or another are in fact pagan! Love, peace and the respect of Mother Earth is tantamount to Pagan religions. So, at this time of year, when Pagans and Christians are celebrating the birth of Spring, whether you are in Britain or Norway, where the festivals are very big, or anywhere else in the world, I wish you good health, wealth and whatever else you wish for this new spring. Happy festival. have a great Imbolc.
So Blessed Be Brigid Goddess of Fire.
And of course, Blessings to St. Brigit.
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