Imbolc/Candlemas – February 2:
The time of first sign of thawing of streams or other very early signs that winter is waning. It marked the beginning of the lactation of pregnant ewes. The word Imbolg means “in the belly”, and is celebrated in the “quickening of the year” when life is first stirring in the belly of Mother Earth. It also marked the first thawing of streams. The goddess Brigit (in Ireland), who is important to hearth and smith fires and poetry, is important at this festival.
It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house – if only for a few moments. Or, light candles in each room in honor of the Sun’s rebirth. Alternately, light a kerosene lamp with a red chimney and place this in a prominent part of the home or in a window. If snow lies on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, recalling the warmth of summer. With your projective hand, trace an image of the Sun on the snow.
Foods appropriate to eat on this day include those from the dairy, since Imbolc marks the festival of calving. Sour cream dishes are fine. Spicy and full-bodied foods in honor of the Sun are equally attuned. Curries and all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic or chives are appropriate. Spiced wines and dishes containing raisins – all foods symbolic of the Sun – are also traditional.