Whether you prefer to observe St. Brigid’s Day, the Celtic tradition of Imbolc, or the Catholic celebration of Candlemas, this is the time to celebrate the coming of Spring! It’s just around the corner (hold that thought)! As we discussed in our post about Brigid, she is at the root of many of the traditions associated with these holidays. Here are a few ideas for ways to celebrate on February 1st or 2nd:
1. Food and Drink (always good for a celebration!)
Plan a menu involving grains and dairy products. Enjoy a glass of ale (remember, one of Brigid’s specialties was brewing!). You might also want to try this recipe for milk punch or perhaps make the traditional Saint Brigid’s oat bread. Maybe not quite as traditional, but very tasty, here’s one of my favorite recipes for Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread.
2. Get Creative
Brigid is the patroness of poetry, so if she’s helped to light your fire of inspiration, why not try your hand at writing a poem? Or you may prefer to make a Brigid’s Cross. A woven cross that incorporates both Christian and pagan symbolism, these crosses are still widely used in Ireland today to protect the harvest and farm animals. Another popular craft of the season is the corn dolly. The dolls were traditionally dressed in white and adorned with ribbons and baubles like crystals, shells or stones. They were carried by young girls in a procession from house to house where gifts were bestowed upon the dollies.
Or…?? Anything creative, particularly involving weaving or textiles, would be suitable.
3. Let There Be Light
Fire and purification are important aspects of this festival. The lighting of candles represents the return of warmth and the increasing power of the sun over the coming months. As such, one long held tradition is to turn off all of the lights in the house. Then, re-enter and—one by one—turn all the lights back on (perhaps lighting a few candles, as well) as a symbolic celebration of the changing seasons and the return of the light.
4. Celebrate (Your) Animals
Brigid had a way with animals; a white skinned red eared fairy cow is often associated with her. Traditionally, farm animals would be particularly well cared for on St. Brigid’s Day. If you don’t have farm animals, consider giving your pet a special treat on this day.
5. Plant Seeds
In preparation for Spring, plant some seeds outdoors if it’s warm enough, or start some indoors for transplanting later. Or force some bulbs. Good choices are paperwhite narcissus or amaryllis – the bright blooms and sweet scent will help the rest of the winter pass more quickly—and more pleasantly.
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