Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Imbolc is a cross quarter High Day, meaning it falls midway between two Major High Days or quarter High Days. Imbolc falls between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. It was traditionally seen as a time to prepare for the coming of spring. This is most likely the origin of the phase ”spring cleaning”. It is a High Day centered around the hearth and home.
In the Celtic culture this holiday was associated with Brigid, the goddess of the hearth, flame, forge, and craftsmanship. This season was a time of fire and purification. Lighting candles and bonfires was a part of the celebrations to welcome back the warmth of spring. Rituals were preformed to Brigid for good health and protection as well as for a prosperous growing season.
This time of year in the Greek culture seems to be a time when homes were protected or cleansed of evil or bothersome spirits. As for festivals, I have not yet found any that would really associate with Imbolc, though it would be very easy for people to do rituals for protecting the home. Also devotional rituals the Hestia, the goddess of hearth and home, would be well suited for Imbolc. Something else I noticed was that this also seemed from my reading to be a time of year that the dead where honored as well. Though not an official Greek festival time I think this is a great chance to honor our ancestors as well as a deity that brought culture to humanity. Without either we would not have developed into the thriving civilization we are today.
There are other gods that are associated with Imbolc, though with the different cultures the High Day is known by different names. You will find a heath deity in nearly every culture, especially among the Indo-European nations. What is most common is that they all view the heath as the heart of a home. So in celebrating Imbolc we are celebrating ourselves, our homes, and our families. There is also any number of ways to celebrate the High Day in modern times depending on which or Neo-Pagan tradition you follow.