13 Ways to Celebrate Imbolc
by Heather Evenstar Osterman
Regardless of what religion we grew up with, most of us have favorite memories of things we did every year for specific holidays. These traditions were what made our celebrations special. So what do you do when the holidays you celebrate now aren’t the same ones you grew up with? How do you share the joys of Imbolc with your family?
Imbolc (or Candlemas/Brigid/whatever you choose to call this celebration) falls on February 2nd and is a time to honor the quickening of the earth and the first manifestations of spring emerging from winter. This Sabbat is sacred to the goddess Brigid in particular, and is a wonderful time to acknowledge your own creativity, expand your knowledge, and practice the healing arts. Here are my suggestions to get you started developing your own family traditions!
- Help your kids go through all their clothes, toys, and books to find the unwanted and outgrown items. Donate everything to a charity that will give the items to children who need them.
- Collect canned goods from family and friends to give to a food bank. Yule isn’t the only time people are in need.
- Go for a walk! Search for signs of spring. Take off your shoes and socks and squish your toes in the mud.
- Open all the doors and windows and turn on every light in the house for a few minutes. Let the kids sweep all the old energies out the doors.
- Lead the family on a parade around the outside of your home, banging on pots and pans or playing musical instruments to awaken the spirits of the land.
- Make corn dollies and a cradle for them to sleep in.
- Create a sun wheel out of stalks of grain and hang it on your front door.
- Meditate as a family. Have everyone explore what it would feel like to be a seed deep in the earth, feeling the first stirrings of life. Lie on the floor and put out tendrils. Stretch and bloom.
- Have your children hold some herb seeds in their hands. Talk to the seeds. Bless them with growth and happiness. Fill them with love. Plant an in-door herb garden.
- Decorate candles with stickers, metallic markers, paint and anything else you can think of! Light your candles and give thanks to Brigid for her inspiration.
- Help your kids make a special feast! Spicy foods and dairy dishes are traditional. Try Mexican or Indian cuisine. Top it off with poppy seed cake. Drink milk or spiced cider.
- Set a fabulous dinner table with your candles, evergreen boughs spring flowers, dragons, sun symbols, or whatever says Imbolc to you. Use the good china.
- Let your children make their beds in a special way to represent Brigid’s bed. Go camp style with sleeping bags or build a makeshift canopy! Have sweet dreams…
Heather Osterman is the Family Services Coordinator for the Aquarian Tabernacle Church.