Imbolg ( February 1st) is one of the four most important festivals in the Celtic calendar, along with Bealtaine (1st May), Lughnasa (1st August) and Samhain ( 1st November).
It is believed that the pagan festival of Imbolc which celebrated the goddess Brigit was Christianised as the feast day of St.Brigid ( la Fheile Bride)
St.Brigid is one of Ireland’s patron saints along with St.Patrick and St.Colmcille and was born in County Kildare.
There are many traditions associated with Imbolc and St. Brigids Day. It reflects perhaps how the Irish like to maintain a healthy relationship both with their pagan and Christian roots!
- Imbolc was celebrated by lighting fires and burning lamps in tribute to the goddess Brigit.
- Rushes were gathered on January 31st and woven into a cross shape. The cross is hung over the door to ward off evil, fire and hunger.
- February 1st is the traditional day for visiting Holy wells ( either pagan or Christian depending on the time period)
Well worth a visit if you are in the area.
How to make a St. Brigids Cross – We refer you to well-known folklorist Michael Fortune who will show you how!