Our Celtic Tradition of Imbolc – known as St Brigid’s Eve

Imbolc, also known as the Feast of Brigid, celebrates the arrival of longer, warmer days and the early signs of spring on February 1.

It is one of the four major “fire” festivals (quarter days, referred to in Irish mythology from medieval Irish texts. The other three festivals on the old Irish calendar are Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain – Halloween).

The word Imbolc means literally “in the belly” in the old Irish Neolithic language, referring to the pregnancy of ewes.

In ancient Irish mythology, Brigid was a fire goddess. Nowadays, her canonization is celebrated with a perpetual flame at her shrine in Kildare.

St. Brigid is the patron saint of the people of the land!  Including babies, blacksmiths, boatmen, cattle farmers, children whose parents are not married, children whose mothers are mistreated by the children’s fathers, Clan Douglas, dairymaids, dairy workers, fugitives, Ireland, Leinster, mariners, midwives, milkmaids, nuns, poets, the poor, poultry farmers, poultry raisers, printing presses, sailors, scholars, travelers, and watermen.

Here in Ireland our celtic traditions run deep, our human spiritual need to respect and honor ancient traditions and customs in order to bring good luck and prosperity for the season ahead.   Our human spiritual tradition is in our blood, in our DNA for centuries and millenia.

In many people, the demands of daily life can surpass the importance up upholding traditional values and customs.  But in times of need many people are turning back to their roots, back to the traditional ways in order to uplift their mood and bring hope and positivity for the future.

January 31st is the day that families around the countryside collect reeds to honor the age old tradition of making  our St Brigid’s crosses from reeds and grasses to hang at our front door and in the home, lighting candles, setting our intentions for the season ahead.

The fire festival, traditional celebrations (and merriment) around a bonfire.

From our Minister Antoinette, a resident of Co. Kildare:

Today is St Brigid’s Eve, so don’t forget to leave a cloth or a scarf outside to be blessed by the Saint/Goddess as she passes.  Known as “Bratôg Bhridé (Brigid’s cloak or flag rag) in Irish folklore (aural history) this special garment can then be used as a cure for headaches and sore throats.

So don’t forget to leave a cloth outside (or inside your front door if you live in the city) for St Brigid to bless as she passes, and the cloth can be used as a cure for headaches and sore throats.  It is said by some that the cure become stronger after 7 years.