Candlemas, Imbolg & February

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sluggo
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Candlemas, Imbolg & February

Postby sluggo » Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:30 pm

Candlemas a/k/a Imbolc/Imbolg:

- one of the four "cross-quarter" feast days of ancient Celtic Europe, marked on February 2nd, being midway between the Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox; a feast honouring the aspects of female creation and Creator, derived from the observation of animals emerging from hibernation and specifically, ewes beginning to lactate.

In the Roman Empire Candelmas commemorates Juno Februata, the virgin mother of Mars. The Celtic name Imbolc ("in the belly") usually appends to the goddess/saint Bridget (Bride), though the designated Brigantian day may vary regionally from February 1st to 6th 1,2.
...(more on Imbolc)

As on other specially designated days, omens were taken. Animals were thought this day to rise out of winter hibernation and provide predictions for the coming year, begetting our modern Groundhog Day:

The badger peeps out of his hole on Candlemas Day, and if he finds snow, walks abroad; but if he sees the sun shining he draws back into his hole. (German proverb)
3

Watching the weather directly was also common practice:

Gin Candlemas-day be dry and fair,
The half o'winter's to come and mair;
Gin Candlemas-day be wet and foul,
The half o'winter's gane at Youl.
4
{Gin = when/if; mair = more; gane = gone; Youl = Yule (assumed)}
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
February is variously said to derive from febris "fever"5 (of love, culminated in the feast of Lupercalia a fortnight later (known today as St. Valentine's Day); or from februarius mensis, "month of purification", the last month of the Roman calendar year 6.

The previous name for this month in OE was solmonað "mud month"6. Nothing like a good shot of pure Anglo-Saxon for the low down and dirty! :twisted:

1 Stone, Merlin: Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood (1979)
2 Logan, Patrick: The Holy Wells of Ireland (1980, UK)
3 Brewer, E. Cobham: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1870, UK)
4 MacDonald Douglas, Ronald: Scottish Lore and Folklore (1982)
5 Walker, Barbara: The Woman's Dictionary of Myths and Secrets (1986)
(index), quoting deVoragine, Jacobus: The Golden Legend (1941)
6 Dictionary.com
Last edited by sluggo on Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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gailr
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Postby gailr » Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:12 pm

Yay Imbolc!


Very nice post, sluggo.

sluggo
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Postby sluggo » Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:15 pm

Aw shux, thangyew. In this age of materialistic obsession it's comforting to reconnect to the mindset of a simpler time, innit?

That'll be $37.49.....
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Grogie
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Postby Grogie » Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:19 am

Excellent post Sluggo! Thanks.

sluggo
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Postby sluggo » Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:25 pm

Just a bump for the day.... :?
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LukeJavan8
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:57 pm

Had I seen this I would not have posted "Groundhog
Day" in Res Diversae. Sorry Sluggo.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----


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