Hello, and welcome to My Week on Wednesday. This week we’re going to talk a little bit about Imbolc, which takes place on either the first or second day of February, and marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.
Imbolc is an old Irish word which translates to “in the belly” and is the time of the year when you begin to anticipate springtime. The days are longer, and while here in Upstate New York, it seems like we are still firmly in the grip of winter, there are still signs of spring to be seen. Look for buds swelling with the promise of new life, listen for the change in the birdsong, prepare for syrup season. Further south, and in much of Western Europe, the first signs of spring are more obvious; lambs are born, flowers bloom, and it is time to prepare the fields for planting.
Although Imbolc is generally considered to be a Wiccan or Pagan holiday, anyone with an eye to the turning of the year wheel, or an appreciation of the seasons can enjoy it.
Christians celebrate Candlemas at this time. Candlemas marks Jesus’ presentation at the temple, and the completion of Mary’s purification ritual after the birth of her son at Christmastime.
It is also the feast day of St. Brigid, who was first known as a maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess; a fire and fertility goddess, who then became one of Ireland’s most popular saints. It is said that she visits homes on Imbolc-eve, and that you should leave bread out for her.
In America, we have Groundhog Day, though weather predicting has always been a part of Imbolc with people watching to see of badgers and snakes came out of their dens.
How to Celebrate Imbolc
With wine, of course.
No, really, we like to get outdoors to really enjoy those first signs of spring. Build a snowman, or maybe make some Ice Marbles if it’s cold. And then come inside for Spiced Wine for Imbolc. With warm spices and bright fruit, it is the perfect symbol for the returning of summer and sunshine.
Making Cheese and Other Dairy Products
Traditionally, with the birth of the lambs, there was milk again. So dairy is a big part of Imbolc.
Homemade 30 Minute Mozzarella Cheese Recipe from Common Sense Homesteading
How to Make Feta Cheese in Your Kitchen from The Homestead Lady
How to Make Quark Cheese from Northern Homestead
Goat Milk Ricotta from Homespun Seasonal Living
How to Make Butter from ImaginAcres
Easy-Peasy Yogurt from Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers
Buttermilk: Reviving a Lost Superfood from The Elliot Homestead — Did you know, I love buttermilk!
How to Make Cultured Buttermilk and Sour Cream from The Prairie Homestead
Eating Dairy Products
This is the perfect time to whip up a sweet dairy treat!
Real Ice Cream from Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers
Maple Custard Cups from Richly Rooted
Chai Spiced Whey Rice Pudding from Homespun Seasonal Living — Suppose you just finished making some ricotta and have whey leftover… then this pudding is for you!
Turkish Rice Pudding from Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers
Cleaning, Simplifying, and Removing Clutter
Imbolc is a time of purification, so it is the perfect time for spring cleaning. This is a great time to dust the things that usually get skipped, wash windows, and do a deep clean in the kitchen. Organize closets and that scary place under the bed! Donate things that you no longer need. It is also a time to clean up your self. Maybe you have a habit you’ve been wanting to break, or a hobby you’d like to start. Now is a great time for that!
These are some great ways to get ideas to get you started with the simplifying and decluttering process!
Simplifying Clutter Distraction from Home & Farm Sense
Our Journey to Simple Living from Keeper of the Home
Take Care of Wild Animals
Before the advent of really good food preservation techniques, and later the supermarket, the end of winter could be a very lean time for people. It still can be for wild animals. Even if you don’t feed the birds year-round, you might set up a bird feeder to help them get through to spring.
Frozen Bird Feeders from Hobby Farms
How to Create Birdseed Ornaments from Garden Delights
Feeding Wild Birds and Homemade Suet from Better Hens and Gardens
Plan Your Garden
Imbolc is an excellent time to start planning your garden. Maybe you could do it while you sip some of that Spiced Wine.
7 Steps for Planning a Vegetable Garden from Lady Lee’s Home
8 Things You Can Do Now to Have a Great Spring Garden from SchneiderPeeps
The Ultimate Garden Planning Resource Round-Up from The Free Range Life
Start Your Garden
Yes! Even in the winter you can get your garden started! Let Jess from The 104 Homestead tell you all about winter sowing! This is actually one of the most perfect ways I can think of to celebrate Imbolc.
Winter Seed Sowing from The 104 Homestead
Winter Sowing Part 2: Zone Guides and FAQ from The 104 Homestead
More Ideas for Celebrating Imbolc
8 Ideas for a Family Friendly Imbolc from The Blasphemous Homemaker
Do you celebrate Imbolc, or something like it? What are your traditions?
Quote of the Week
Approximately daily, I post quotes on my Facebook Page. The quote with the most likes, shares, and comments will become the Quote of the Week. Be sure to “like” my page so you don’t miss any, and so you can make your favorites known!
Thank you for joining me for My Week on Wednesday. Tell me, what did you do this week? I’d love to hear!
And be sure to join us on Friday for the From the Farm Blog Hop!
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