About Imbolc

Imbolc is one of the four seasonal celebrations of the Celts.  The others are Beltaine (1 May), Lughnasa (1 August) and Samain (1 November).

Imbolc is associated with the Celtic fire-goddess, Brigit.  Under Christianity she become St Brigid of Kildare, and the festival became known as St Brigid’s Day.  Despite the growth of many Christian stories about her life, there was never any historical figure behind these myths.

Brigit is the Celtic goddess of fire, smithing, fertility, cattle, crops, and poetry.  She was daughter of the Dagda (one of the leaders of the Tuatha Dé Danann) and Goddess of Leinster.

Brigid's Cross
A traditional brigid’s cross woven from reeds (Photo by Culnacreann – Own work, CC BY 3.0)

Traditionally, Brigid’s crosses are made at this time as well as a doll figurine of the goddess, called a Brídeóg.    Brigid was said to visit one’s home at Imbolc. Until the 1950’s children would carry the Brídeóg from house to house (and get treats in return).  People would make a bed for Brigid and leave her food and drink, while items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless.  It was said that if the clothes were wet in the morning, she had blessed them.  Brigid was also invoked to protect homes and livestock, though she was said not to bless all, only those who most needed it.  It was also a good time for purification at holy wells and for divination.

The Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara is aligned with the rising sun at Imbolc and Samain.

We celebrate Imbolc with fire and despacho ceremony, playing music, telling the stories and letting the kids go a little wild.

Keeping to the ways of Imbolc

You can celebrate Imbolc by making Brigid’s crosses and hanging them outside your door.  Leave some food out for Brigid in the hope she will bless your house.  Leave an item of clothing on a hawthorn hedge overnight.  Wear it to recieve her blessing.

Imbolc is one of the eight Celtic festivals celebrated by us.

These are open to all and you and your family are welcome to attend.
Check the calendar for this year’s date.

[List of festivals and their dates…]

Sources: