According to Wikipedia, “Imbolc, or Imbolg, also called Brigid’s Day, is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of Spring. It is held on 1 February, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.” Here in West Clare it is definitely still celebrated. The celebrations overlap with St Brigid’s day, when people traditionally make Brigid’s Crosses out of rushes. We have several of these crosses around the house, made when our son was at national school and they made them in class each 1 February from rushes cut by the teachers from the nearby fields.
Although the meteorological calendar may state that Spring doesn’t start for a while yet, here in West Clare we’re beginning to see signs of Spring’s approach. Being so close to the sea means we rarely get prolonged cold spells (except last winter, which went on FOREVER). This year Winter has been relatively mild so far, hence the picture of the little primrose from my garden, and the daffodils below, which burst into flower this week.
When I venture out for my morning walks I can go almost at my usual time as the mornings are getting lighter. There is noticeably more bird song, and the Great Tits in particular are pretty insistent. Ravens, always one of the first birds to get in the family way, have been calling and displaying. Ironically, the weather is due to be cold for Imbolc itself, with weather warnings issued by the Met Office for heavy snow. As I type it is actually snowing lightly. Clearly the weather didn’t get the Imbolc memo. So, how to celebrate Imbolc? Light a fire, to celebrate the Fire Goddess Brigid, spring clean your house, or visit a well, stream or river. It’s all symbolic of cleansing, renewing, new starts, good intentions. My good intentions revolve around my morning walk – getting out every day (walking alongside a stream), come rain, hail or shine. I was fortunate to win a gorgeous Bogman Beanie last week, and never has a warm, woolly hat been so welcome. Here it is on its inaugural morning walk…
There are colours associate with Imbolc. The main ones are White, Pink, Red, Yellow, Green and Brown. These make total sense – they are so often the colours of Spring flowers, especially green, yellow and pink. I love Spring flowers, their quiet determination to ignore the occasional snow flurry and keep on flowering. Who doesn’t love that amazing spectacle of the dandelions lining the sides of the road all of a sudden, proving a natural road marking and much needed food for the first emerging bumblebees?
Now of course, my bags are all about flowers, and the colours of Imbolc are really highlighted in my Red Burren and Anemone fabrics particularly.
And what better way for me to give you all, my lovely Sallyann’s Handmade Bags followers, a little Imbolc gift. If you go to my shop between now and 14 February, you can enter the discount code IMBOLC and get a 10% discount off your new Sallyann Bag. Go on go on go on. Celebrate the arrival of Spring, clean out your old handbag and bring the colours of Imbolc into your daily routine with one of my mood enhancing handbags, everyone of which is lined with recycled jeans.
Chapel Lane Market is taking its Winter break right now, but we hope to be back next month – as soon as I have the re-opening date I will let you know.