Imbolc is a heathen celebration held on the 1st or on the 2nd of February. It is the first celebration heralding the coming of spring with snowy winds, misty blizzards, and delicate snowdrops.
More than a month has passed since the 22nd of December, the winter solstice, and the sun prolongs its journey around the world.
Imbolc is the feast of the poets, and their flame of creativity is celebrated. The goddess Brigid is especially honored at this time. One of the customs is the making of a Bridie Doll by dressing up a sheaf of oats in women’s clothing and later placing it in the earth. This is related to fertility rites.
Brigid or Brigit (meaning ‘exalted one’), also Bríg, is a goddess of pre-Christian Ireland. She appears in Irish mythology as a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the daughter of the Dagda and wife of Bres, with whom she had a son named Ruadán.
She is associated with wisdom, poetry, healing, protection, smithing and domesticated animals. Cormac’s Glossary, written in the 9th century by Christian monks, says that Brigid was “the goddess whom poets adored” and that she had two sisters: Brigid the healer and Brigid the smith. This suggests she may have been a triple deity. She is also thought to have some relation to the British Celtic goddess Brigantia.
Art – “The Coming of Bríde” by John Duncan (1917)
More information about Imbolc and the subsequent Catholic celebration of Candlemas can be found here.