Imbolc: Legends & Traditions

brigid-6*This post was originally shared on my Patreon page. For more regular blog posts, exclusive content, downloads, and more become a patron!

I often hear people talk about winter solstice or spring equinox, but we aren’t always as aware of all the little traditions and legends that fall between some of these days. For example in Celtric traditions some mark February as the start of spring (a shocking discovery for me as February as always felt like the coldest month of winter to me). February 1st is Imbolc and/or Saint Brigid’s day and is the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is celebrated in the Christian calendar as Saint Brigid’s day and in non-Christian calendars as Imbolc. In the Celtic calendar this date marks the beginning of lambing season and stirrings of new life. The midpoint between the frozen ground of winter and the blossoms of spring. While it feels far from spring to many, you do start to see snowdrops emerging from the half frozen ground.brigid-2brigid-11-sideFebruary rarely feels like spring to me, but part of this could be because of Cailleach—or the divine hag of Gaelic tradition. Cailleach is considered the goddess of winter who will turn to stone once summer returns, but wanders the earth in a humanoid form from Samhain onwards. On Imbolc she heads out into the world to gather firewood for the rest of winter. If the weather is bright and sunny Cailleach is out gathering firewood and will be able to gather enough firewood to make winter last a good bit longer. However, if the weather is bad and cold this means Cailleach is still asleep and will soon run out of firewood and thus spring will come sooner--she won’t want another month of winter without a fire to keep herself warm. This old legend might be a precursor to America’s groundhog day and has a few different variations across the Celtic regions. I've got my fingers crossed for miserable weather on Imbolc!brigid-10brigid-5-sideWhile Brigid’s Procession used to be a tradition on Imbolc, I don’t hear it being done that often today. One tradition that has carried on in more homes is the making of Brigid’s cross. This simple cross is made of straw or rushes and woven on January 31st and left outside overnight to receive Brigid’s blessing. Then on February 1st they were hung in the rafters of the home and believed to bring blessing and the protection of the saint for the remainder of the year. This tradition was quite popular in Ireland since Saint Brigid was an Irish saint, but while you will see crosses here and there the tradition isn’t as common as it used to be. This was my first time making one and I'm pretty pleased with how it came out!brigid-8brigid-9
wearing Cottoncandywear blouse, Aalaovest Costumery corset, Sondeflor skirt
*pictures edited with Blackthorn preset from my Dark Cottagecore Preset Pack

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