2018-02-02

IMBOLC (in northern hemisphere), Lughnassadh (in southern hemisphere). Imbolc is one of the four principal festivals of the Irish calendar, celebrated among Gaelic peoples and some other Celtic cultures either at the beginning of February or at the first local signs of spring. Originally dedicated to the goddess Brigid, in the Christian period it was adopted as St. Brigid’s Day. In Scotland the festival is also known as Là Fhèill Brìghde, in ireland as Lá Fhéile Bríde, and in Wales as Gwyl Ffraed. 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 Groundhog Day and Bill Murray fan clubs.

Lughnasadh marked the beginning of the harvest season, the ripening of first fruits, and was traditionally a time of community gatherings, market festivals, horse races and reunions with distant family and friends. Among the Irish it was a favored time for hand-fastings – trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or later formalizing it as a more permanent marriage.