Imbolc or Candlemas (2nd August)
Imbolc is the celebration of the imminent arrival of Spring. White and green candles are lit, homes decorated once again with garlands and fresh native flowers, and thanks is given that warmth is returning to the earth. Imbolc is a celebration of all that is fresh, new and young, and is also a celebration of the Goddess as Virgin. It is a particularly feminine festival, sacred to women.
Imbolc is associated and also known as the festivals of Candlemas (British), Imbolic (Irish), Brigantia (Scottish) and Lupercus (Italian/Latin). It falls on August 2nd in the Southern hemisphere, and February 2nd in the Northern hemisphere.
Imbolc celebrates the banishing of winter, and the stirring of new life in the earth. The word imbolc literally means “ewe’s milk” in Old English, and the festival heralds the first of the spring lambs.
At Imbolc, the newborn Sun God is depicted as a small child nursing from his mother. At this time, some Wiccan traditions initiate new members into the Craft and into their covens. Other traditions at this time are to light all the lights in the home for a few minutes in honour of the sun’s rebirth, and to recognise and work with new ideas, and new beginnings, within ourselves.
The colours of Imbolc are white and lavender, and the flowers associated with this festival are the violet and lavender. In Australia the native violet is the flower of Imbolc.