Imbolc, spring will come!

Imbolc, Gaelic folklore

We can light candles all winter in our feeble human attempt to bring back the light. Whether we do that or not, Imbolc is a special day if you’re tired of winter and longing for spring.   In the northern hemisphere, on the 2nd of February,  juices start to flow in the roots of plants, under the ground, even if the ground is frozen tight and covered with snow.  It is not a coincidence that in parts of our country, we look for a prediction on that day……..

Punxsutawney PA has for many years brought a ground-hog up from the ground, and held him up in the light to see if he sees his shadow.    Old wives’ tale?  No, deep rooted Gaelic tradition.  Here’s a quote from a Wikipedia article:

Gaelic folklore

The holiday was, and for many still is, a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Celebrations often involved hearthfires, special foods (butter, milk, and bannocks, for example), divination or watching for omens, candles or a bonfire if the weather permits.  Imbolc is traditionally a time of weather prognostication, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens is perhaps a precursor to the North American Groundhog Day. A Scottish Gaelic proverb about the day is:

Thig an nathair as an toll
Là donn Brìde,
Ged robh trì troighean dhen t-sneachd
Air leac an làir.

“The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.”

Imbolc is the day the Cailleach — the hag of Gaelic tradition — gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she intends to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people are generally relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.


crocus, Imbolc, spring

Winter will end, not soon enough for most of us, cos it’s been a cold snowy winter here, and much worse in some other parts of the country. Now they are predicting a big storm that would affect a lot of states  for next week.  Calling it the Ground Hog Day storm, look out ground-hog!  But eventually Spring will come and bring the crocus, followed by lots of other gorgeous things.

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