Imbolc Date in the current year: February 1, 2016

Imbolc Imbolc (Imbolg) is an ancient Gaelic festival that marks the beginning of spring. It is typically held on February 1 and is often associated with the feast of Saint Brigit of Kildare.

Imbolc is one of the four Gaelic festivals associated with the changing seasons, along with Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain. Historically, it was widely observed in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. After the introduction of Christianity, it merged with Saint Brighid's Day, just like many other pagan festivals transformed into Christian holidays.

The word “Imbolc” derives from the Old Irish expression which means “in the belly”. This refers to the pregnancy of ewes. In Gaelic Island, the festival of Imbolc marked the beginning of the lambing season and the onset of spring.

Imbolc is strongly associated with the Gaelic goddess Brighid, one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She was honored as the patroness of cattle and other livestock, arts and crafts, sacred wells, smithing, medicine, poetry, and the arrival of early spring. People believed that on Imbolc eve Brighid blessed the inhabitants of virtuous households as they slept.

On Imbolc, people made bonfires, prepared special foods and attempted to predict weather. Although many of its customs died out, Imbolc is still observed by Celtic neopagans in some localities.

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Imbolc, Imbolg, pagan holiday, folk holiday, Celtic holiday