Imbolc Feb. 1 or 2.
This Wiccan Sabbat is shared by many modern Pagan traditions. Imbolc marks the second quarter of the first day of Spring. It has it’s origins in ancient Celtic practice. The Celts saw the beginnings of Spring in some of the more subtle signs of nature.
This Sabbat is strongly associated with the Irish Celtic Goddess Brighid (pronounced ‘breed’). Imbolc celebrates a reawakening of the earth and a fertility. The Goddess, along with the people participating in the Sabbat, bring protection and help energy to flow and increase.
A slightly modernized form of a very old tradition involves the oldest woman (or oldest daughter) goes out to gather straw, in the process she becomes a symbolic representation of Brighid. She brings the straw back to the doorway and says; “Be on your knees, and open your eyes, and let Blessed Brighid in”!
Everyone inside says, “Come in, you are a hundred times welcome! The woman, as Brighid, comes into the house and places the straw under or on the altar and blesses the people, food and the home. After feasting. everyone makes Brighid’s crosses with the straw to take to their own homes to hang over their door.
Imbolc comes from a few possible meanings; ‘in the belly’, ‘Lactation’ or ‘Ewe’s Milk’, because this is the time of the year that sheep start lactating. Additionally, the first new growth of many plants start to peek out of the ground.