Imbolc and Candlemas: Celebrating the Return of the Light

The first two days of February mark the midway point to the Spring Equinox.

This means we are officially halfway through winter proper!

This is the day that the ancients began to celebrate the returning of the Light back to the Northern Hemisphere.

This is the day when we can start planning for the advent of Springtime: longer and warmer days, starting seeds for gardens, and bringing new life into our homes and our souls.

Read on for 8 ideas on how to celebrate the coming of spring (because I promise… even the longest winter eventually succumbs to spring).

HISTORY

For the ancients in Gaelic Northern Europe, the day of Imbolc was celebrated on February 1. Imbolc means “in the belly” referring to the pregnancies of the ewes in the flocks. Imbolc was the day of celebration of the advent of Spring and the season of fertility and life. In the Gaelic calendar, Imbolc was regarded as the beginning of spring with the Spring Equinox occurring at the peak of spring and ending on May 1 (May Day/Beltane).

[READ MORE:  All About Imbolc ]

This is also Brigid’s day. Brigid straddles the pagan and Christian traditions. She was originally a mother goddess in Gaelic mythology and was the Gaelic goddess of the advent of spring, renewal, healing, and divine femininity (among a myriad of other occupations and familial positions). She was then Christianized and many of her attributes bestowed upon Saint Brigid of Kildare in AD 451.

[READ MORE: The Enduring Traditions of St. Brigid’s Day ]

With the advent of widespread Christendom, a second day (February 2) has added a day of celebration called Candlemas. Candlemas is the catholic celebration that takes place 40 days after Christmas Eve Day and is the day celebrated as the day when Jesus was presented at the Temple to be presented for purification and consecrated to God. In Christianity, Jesus is known as the Light of the World. Therefore, the presentation of Jesus to the temple was the presentation of the Light to the World. This is also the day that Mary was cleansed in the Temple from her period of “after-birth uncleanness” and was considered pure and fertile again.

[READ MORE: What is Candlemas Day? ]

Whether Christian or Pagan, the first two days of February are days to begin celebrating the Light in our lives and prepare for the advent of new life and a prosperous springtime.

HOW TO CELEBRATE

It’s been a long, cold, and dark three months. So, with winter now halfway to spring, it is time to start welcoming and celebrating the Light’s return to warm the earth and to warm our souls. Today, do something to celebrate the return of the Light back into our lives. Here are some ways to do so:

  1. Open the blinds/curtains to let in natural light.
  2. Light Candles. Traditionally, beeswax candles are lit to welcome spring, bees, and fertility back into the world.
  3. Read uplifting, motivational, and empowering literature that brings hope and life back into your life. Listening to similar podcasts or audible books also count.
  4. Chocolate is absolutely appropriate here and now. Share a delicious chocolaty desert or treat with people you love either in person or over a zoom call.
  5. Begin planning your garden. What plants and flowers would you like to cultivate this year? Do you need to plan a plot or a porch setup for your outdoor plants? Many flowers and herbs grow magnificently in pots and 5-gallon buckets set on a sunny porch.
  6. Start your seedlings indoors today/ this month so that they are ready to transplant outside in May!
  7. Get up and move your body to some light and upbeat music. Loosen your joints and clear out the mental cobwebs of winter by increasing blood and lymph circulation.
  8. Diffuse uplifting essential oils like Sweet Orange or Neroli, Chamomile, Lemon, Geranium, Rose, Lavender, Basil, and Cedarwood.
Snowdrops are the first flowers to bloom in spring. They symbolize hope, purity, rebirth, and the ability to overcome challenges in life. It is considered the official flower of Eve and of Brigid and it is the birth flower of those born in January.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.