Imbolc - St. Brigid's Day
The first sacred feast day of the year occurs February 1st. St. Brigid’s Day honours Ireland’s first female saint known as the fertility goddess and the bringer of light. Imbolc means “in the belly” referencing the stirring seeds of life. As winter gives way to Spring, Imbolc celebrates the returning sun and fertility as lambs and other animals are birthed, and their mothers produce milk. It is a celebration of home and hearth preparing for a new season of light. Irish literature and poetry has recorded this celebration since the 10th Century including Lebor Gabala Erenn and Cath maige Tuired.
On the Celtic wheel, this celebration occurs on the quarter cross which is between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. The 5,000 year old Newgrange, Neolithic tomb at Tara, was positioned so that the sunrise on Imbolc (and Samhain) light the interior for gatherers. To prepare for the celebration, crosses made of reeds are formed and hung in the home and dolls symbolizing Brigid are made of oats, rushes, wheat or corn husks, and fires are lit to honour Brigid for her fertility blessings.