Imbolc or Saint Brigid’s Day is the festival that marks the beginning of spring and is held halfway between the winter solstice (Yule) and the spring equinox (Ostara), which ist usually the first or second day of February (or the first of August in the southern hemisphere). Alongside with Samhain, Beltane and Lughnasadh, it is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals.
I’m going to share with you some rituals you can do to celebrate this festival!
Making a Saint Brigid’s Cross
Saint Brigid is one of Ireland’s patron saints. But Brigid is also the name of a Gaelic goddess who is associated with spring, fertility, healing and poetry.
In Ireland, Saint Brigid’s crosses were made on Imbolc. They were hung over doors and windows to welcome Brigid and protect against fire and lightning. They usually hung there until the next Imbolc, when a new cross was made.
There are countless tutorials on the internet on how to make a Saint Brigid’s Cross. I personally recommend Pinterest to find inspiration for any crafting ideas.
Now this one might sound strange at first, but it is traditional to clean your house or your room on Imbolc. I personally really dislike cleaning my room so it gets pretty messy, but I do feel relieved and more happy when my room is clean and tidy. So I like the idea of cleaning on Imbolc. Maybe start with physically cleaning and tidying your house – or only your room if you have to practice in sectet, though I don’t think anyone might suggest anything by you cleaning your room. You can then follow it up by cleansing your space – with sounds, smudging or any way you like.
Taking a ritual bath
This is all about relaxing and cleansing. Light some candles, play music if you like, use your favourite incense or bath salts. You can also add herbs like sage, lavender, lemon balm and cinnamon. Once everything is set up, clear your mind and focus on the warmth. Imbolc symbolizes new beginnings, so maybe try visualizing new plans and projects.
Making a wreath or flower crown
That spring ist beginning means that flowers are about to return, so I thought making a wreath or flower crown is a good idea.
Typical colour for Imbolc are white, red and green, representing snow, the rising sun and the plants that are about to return. Flowers that bloom in the early spring, like crocus, dandelions, forsythia and snowbulb are perfect.
I am going to upload a tutorial in a few days as I’m going to make one myself. However, if you don’t want to wait, look for tutorials online!
Brigid is the goddess of poetry. If you want to honor her, you can try to write your own poems! Don’t worry if you feel like you’re not talented enough. No one besides you is going to read them and they don’t even have to rhyme. So, maybe give it a go and lay them on your altar!
Imbolc is the perfect time for baking bread and making soups. If you have any traditional or favourite recipes, make them! But if you don’t, here are two recipes:
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 5 cups chicken/vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp long grain white rice
- 2 tomatoes, peeled & chopped
- (8 ounces chicken, cooked & diced)
- 1 small apple, cooked, peeled, cored & diced
- salt to taste
- fresh celery leaves
Heat the butter and the oil in a sauce pan. Add onion, celery and carrots, cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder and flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in stock and bring to a boil, then add rice and stir well. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, chicken, apple and salt. Cover again and simmer for 15 minutes. Garnish with celery leaves and carrot strip, enjoy hot.
Irish soda bread
- 4 cups flour
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
Preheat your oven to 400°F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Stir in 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk with a fork or spoon – you might not need all of it depending on your flour. Knead lightly with your hands and form a ball, slightly flatten the top. Cut a cross into the top with a sharp knife. Place your loaf on a baking sheet and brush it with buttermilk or melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
I wish you all a great time until Imbolc and you’re going to hear from me soon!