Traditions upon Imbolc – Celebrate with Mulled or Spiced Wines, household duties are Spring cleaning and at sunset or just after ritual, to light every candle or lamp in the house – if only for a few moments. (symbolizing re-birth) Meditate in the candlelight with your Spiced Wine and organize your thoughts as you did to your home.
IMBOLC (Candlemas) (February 1-2)
(Brigid’s Day) Not common to all Pagans, this is very popular with Wiccan’s and various Celtic sects. Imbolc is a Celtic festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is celebrated on 1 or 2 February Brigid is the Celtic goddess of fire and inspirational Hearth & Home Deity (Poetry, Smithcraft and Healing) as well as yet another representation of the Fertility of Femininity and Love. The holiday was, and for many still is, a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Celebrations often involved hearth fires, special foods (butter, milk, and bannock, for example), divination or watching for omens, candles or a bonfire if the weather permits. 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 the North American Groundhog Day.
Brigid had such a strong following among the Celtics that the Christian church decided it was easier to assimilate her into their own system, and so there came about the making of Saint Brigit and all the stories they created about her so that her followers would leave their old beliefs enough so they would not side with the Druids, who were known at that time as ‘the snakes’ because of their tendency to have tamed snakes that were used to help produce various healing mixtures via their venom, and who were violently opposing the Catholic church. In History, of course, the druids lost against the overwhelming odds presented by the church, led by a man who would then be himself sainted by the church, their Saint Patrick (who was no clergyman but a warrior). Thus Christian rule of various sorts came into Ireland. Handcrafts are often sacrificed to Brigid or dedicated to her as they are started on this day. Its celebration is done with many candles and as usual much feasting. The Christians also took, moved slightly and used this date by creating St. Valentine and using the day for one of chaste love reflections. Imbolic marks the recovery of the Goddess after birth of the God. The warmth of the power of the God fertilizes the Earth and so the earliest beginnings of spring occur. This is a Sabbat of purification, a festival of light and fertility. It’s also a traditional time for initiations into covens and self-dedication rituals. Also known as: Feast of Pan, Feast of Torches, Oimelc.
BAKED CUSTARD WITH GINGER- 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, 3/4 teaspoon Finely Grated Fresh Ginger, 3 large Eggs, lightly beaten, 2 1/2 cups Milk, 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon Salt, 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg. Method: Mix brown sugar with ginger and divide evenly onto bottoms of 6 buttered individual custard cups or ramekins.
In medium mixing bowl, blend eggs with milk, sugar, vanilla and seasonings. Pour evenly into prepared custard cups. Place cups in a large deeper pan, then fill with hot water to come halfway up sides of cups (a hot water bath).
Bake at 350 F. oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until knife inserted near edge comes out clean. Remove cups from bath. Run knife around edges to loosen. Place serving plate over top of cup and carefully invert custard onto plate. Serve warm or cover, chill and serve cold.
DUBLIN SUNDAY CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE- 5 pounds Corned beef brisket, 1 large Onion stuck with 6 whole cloves, 6 Carrots, peeled and sliced, 8 Potatoes, peeled and cubed, 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme, 1 small Bunch Parsley, 1 head Cabbage (about 2 lbs) cut in quarters. Horseradish Sauce:, 1/2 pint Whipping Cream, 2 – 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish. Method: Put beef in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add all other ingredients except cabbage and bring to a boil with the lid off the pot. Turn to simmer and cook for 3 hours. Skim fat from top as it rises. Remove the thyme, parsley and onion. Add cabbage. Simmer for 20 minutes until cabbage is cooked. Remove the meat and cut into pieces. Place on center of a large platter. Strain the cabbage and season it heavily with black pepper. Surround the beef with the cabbage, carrots and potatoes. Serve with horseradish sauce. Horseradish Sauce: Whip cream until it stand in peaks. Fold in horseradish.