Hello from Ireland and welcome to February ! I hope that you are well and seeing the first signs of spring as the days begin to get that little bit longer .
The first of February is a very important day in Ireland – known as Imbolc it is a Cross Quarter Day, the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Symbolising the end of winter and the beginning of spring . Not only the Irish celebrate this important day and the month of February, the Anglo Saxons called February “Sol-monath” ( cake month ) because cakes were baked and offered to the gods that month. It was also known as “sprout kale” from the sprouting of cabbage or kale . Our Welsh neighbours refer to February as “y mis bach” , meaning “little month”.
Here in Ireland Imbolc has been celebrated since before recorded history . Originally a pagan festival it was Christianised as the feast day of St Brigid. Brigid is patroness of many things, including poetry, learning, healing, protection, blacksmithing, livestock and dairy production.
On St Brigid’s Eve, Brigid was said to visit virtuous households and bless the inhabitants. As Brigid represented the light half of the year, and the power that will bring people from the dark season of winter into spring, her presence was very important at this time of year. Before going to bed, people would leave items of clothing or strips of cloth outside for Brigid to bless. The clothes or strips of cloth would be brought inside and believed to now have powers of healing and protection. Families would have a special meal or supper on St Brigid’s Eve to mark the last night of winter. This typically included food such as colcannon, sowans, dumplings and barmbrack. Often, some of the food and drink would be set aside for Brigid.
Each year there will be festivities which center in the town of Kildare where the Saint founded an important monastic settlement . This week all around Ireland children in primary schools will be making the traditional St. Brigid’s Cross and it brings back many happy memories to all our Irish friends now living abroad around the world. Children will arrive home this evening delighted to present their parents with no doubt perfectly made crosses!
In addition , here in Ireland the first Monday of February is now a public holiday to honour St Brigid .This year the holiday will fall on February 5th, and I know that all of us here at www.connemaramarble.com are looking forward to a lazy day off work !!
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and we have 15% off all our Celtic Pendants to celebrate that special person in your life.
Let’s all look ahead to brighter evenings and all the wonders that Spring will bring.
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