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Imbolc

Imbolc is one of the eight solar holidays or sabbats of Neopaganism. It is celebrated on February 1 in the northern hemisphere and on August 1 in the southern hemisphere. The name means "in the belly," referring to the pregnancy of ewes, and is also a Celtic term for spring. Another name is Oimelc, meaning "ewe's milk"; also Brigid, referring to the Celtic goddess of smithcraft, to Whom the day is sacred.

The holiday is a festival of light, reflecting the lengthening of the day and the hope of spring. It is traditional to light all the lamps of the house for a few minutes on Imbolc, and rituals often involve a great deal of candles. Another term for the holiday, and the name under which an attempt was made to Christianise it, is Candlemas. In North America, Candlemas became known as Groundhog Day.

Imbolc is a cross-quarter day. Among the sabbats, it is preceded by Yule and followed by Ostara.

See also Wheel of the Year.



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