Category: Folk
Imbolc in Ireland in 2025
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About Imbolc

How long until Imbolc?
Imbolc .
Dates of Imbolc
2025 Ireland Saturday, February 1stImbolc
2024 Ireland Thursday, February 1stImbolc
2023 Ireland Wednesday, February 1stImbolc
2022 Ireland Tuesday, February 1stImbolc
2021 Ireland Monday, February 1stImbolc
Imbolc is a Celtic festival celebrating the start of Spring

Imbolc is a Celtic pagan religious holiday celebrated from February 1st – 2nd each year. Imbolc originated as a festival in honor of the pagan goddess Brigid which marked the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

Imbolc was a time for people to celebrate new beginnings, welcome the start of the farming season, and to purify and cleanse their homes. Customs included lighting fires, making offerings of milk and butter, and decorating with flowers and other symbols of spring.

It was closely tied to the livestock breeding seasons when the first baby sheep and cows were born as well as planting for the next year’s harvest.

Imbolc is also known as St. Brigid’s Day. The day was said to be dedicated to the goddess Brigit who oversaw poetry, prophecy, and fire, and granted fertility blessings to the land. Brigid was worshipped all year round by a class of Celtic poets and historians called the Filid.

Brigid encompasses the stories of two women, Brigid, the saint considered a patron saint of Ireland, and the goddess Brigid, a powerful woman and the patroness of healing, arts, fertility, poetry/music, prophecy and agriculture.

Her feast day on the February 1st marks the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere and it is the season when we celebrate hope and new life on earth.

In early history, people would start preparing their homes for Brigid to stay the night before February 1st. They would clean and a meal would be prepared, with a serving for Brigid.

Celebrants prepared for a visit from Brigid into their homes by crafting an effigy of the goddess from bundles of oats and rushes. The effigy was placed in a dress and put in a basket overnight.”

From the morning of Feb. 1 to sundown of Feb. 2, they would all burn lamps and light bonfires to keep the land lit for Brigid to travel. Children would craft the three-legged cross of Brigid to protect their homes from fire. The crosses would also hang in their barns to encourage a fertile season for their livestock and their fields.

The festival has since been incorporated into some forms of modern paganism and is still celebrated today by some people in Ireland and other Celtic communities.

They also marked the weather of the day to predict how long winter would stay. It was said that the Celtic goddess Cailleach would spend the day of Imbolc either napping or gathering enough wood for a longer winter while Brigid visited the land. If the weather was fair, with a clear sky and sun, it meant that Cailleach was out collecting wood and the cold months would continue. If the weather was harsh and cruel it meant she was curled in bed and that spring would soon come to the land.

This tradition of observing the weather at the start of February continues today; an American example is Groundhog Day.

These traditions were adopted by the Irish Catholic Church as St. Brigid’s Day. An adaptation of the Celtic goddess became St. Brigid, who was said to have been a friend of St. Patrick and the very first Irish nun. Brigid is said to have died on February 1st 542AD.

The Catholic church held the first St. Brigid’s Day in place of Imbolc in the 12th century and kept most of the traditions the same. The cross of Brigid could be made with four or three legs and was commonly taught to young children in Church. This celebration was said to help convince the people of Ireland to convert to Catholicism because they could continue to pray to their deity. St. Brigid’s Day is celebrated as a national holiday in Ireland.

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