Celebrate Imbolc: 9 Modern Ways to Honor St. Brigid’s Day
Imbolc, also called St. Brigid’s Day, is an ancient Celtic holiday celebrated annually on February 1st. It’s a time when Winter starts to fade and the first signs of Spring pop up to remind us life will blossom again soon. But how do we celebrate Imbolc in our own modern way? Here we provide you with 8 simple modern ways to celebrate this ancient and heart-warming sabbat.
First, What is Imbolc or St. Brigid’s Day?
As said before, Imbolc is celebrated annually on February 1st and originates in Celtic Ireland and Scotland. Imbolc recognizes the very beginning stirrings of Spring and also is the feast-day of Saint Brigid. Because St. Brigid is a syncretized version of an ancient goddess, modern pagans and witches also celebrate the goddess Brigid on Imbolc. Imbolc translates to “ewe’s milk” or possibly “in the belly”, because it was the time when the sheep’s milk would come in to prepare for feeding a new round of lambs. Another beautiful sign of Spring.
How to Celebrate Imbolc: 9 Modern Ways
1. Look for Signs of Spring
Because Imbolc is the first Spring sabbat, it’s only fitting to honor Mother Earth by going outside and looking for the first signs of Spring. These signs will be different by region and depend on what atmosphere you live in – country, suburbs, city, etc. Take note of any changes in your environment that might indicate the first sign of Spring. For instance, maybe snowdrops or some other early Spring flower is beginning to bloom, a particular type of bird has returned, grass poking out from the snow, etc.
2. Spring Cleaning
For many modern mommies and caretakers, we might not have a lot of time to celebrate this sabbat SO why not get some Spring cleaning done in light of Imbolc? Spring cleaning on Imbolc was once customary and if you do it on Imbolc, you’re knocking two birds out with one stone, right? So wash your curtains, clean your windows and doors, dust those hard-to-reach corners and welcome in Spring with a clean, fresh house! Don’t forget to cleanse your space spiritually by smudging or sound, etc.
3. Celebrate Imbolc by Feasting!
Another old Imbolc custom, and perhaps the most-loved, was to hold large feasts. Yours doesn’t have to be large, but make it a point to make a special dinner for you and your family or friends to celebrate Imbolc. Traditional foods to include: colcannon, dumplings, baked bread, milk, eggs, dried fruits, and winter veggies. Dedicate the dinner to your goddess OR specifically to the goddess Brigid and the Spring season. Find delicious traditional and modern Imbolc Meal Ideas and Recipes here.
4. Cleansing Bath Ritual for Imbolc
Because cleansing and purification were customary on Imbolc, why not perform a cleansing bath ritual? We preach our cleansing bath rituals here at Otherworldly Oracle because they’re effective and relaxing! Cleanse away those negative energies from the Winter season in preparation for new energy in the Spring! Something to add to honor the custom of “dressing sacred wells” – decorate the sides of your bathtub with flowers and candles.
5. Make Brigid’s Crosses
An ancient St. Brigid’s Day tradition is to make something called St. Brigid’s Crosses. Learn how to make them in the video below. They not only honor the goddess and St. Brigid, but when hung above the front door will protect and bless your home for the coming year. Make it a tradition and replace your St. Brigid’s cross again next Imbolc!
6. Celebrate Imbolc by Lighting a Fire
For nearly every Celtic sabbat, lighting a fire is tradition. The fire beckons and honors the warmth of the coming sun. Start a bonfire, light a fire in the fireplace, OR if you don’t have the means – simply light a candle and dedicate it to the Spring Sun OR the goddess Brigid.
7. Cleanse, Charge and Refresh Your Altar
If you keep an altar, Imbolc is a wonderful day to cleanse, charge and refresh it. Take everything off, clean the altar and tools, then cleanse with smoke or holy water. Following, pray over your altar and tools to charge with renewed energy. In addition, decorating your altar in Spring colors and decor invite the coming season and honors Imbolc at the same time! Colors include: white, light blue, light pink, pastel colors and green. Decorations include: flowers, representations of Brigid, sheep, baskets, and more!
8. Burning Rituals
Since Imbolc is indeed a fire festival, use this element’s energy to your utmost magical benefit. In addition to lighting a fire for Brigid and the sun, plan and carry out a powerful burning ritual. Burning rituals are used to “burn away” bad habits, toxic relationships, and old ways of life. Conversely, you can also toss wishes and other desires for manifestation into the fire. As we’ve said before, fire has the power to destroy AND create.
9. Brigid Blessing Linen
On the eve of Imbolc, place a linen tablecloth, sheets, doily, napkin, etc. outside. Tradition has it that Brigid travels over the land this night and will bless any linen laid out. Then you can use that linen throughout the year to bestow blessings upon the household: love, peace, inspiration and protection.