The feast of Candlemas also known as the feast of light is one of the four key festivals in the Celtic calendar. This celebration is dedicated to the Celtic goddess named Brigid. In many traditions the imbolc is considered the beginning of Spring as it falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is commonly held on February 1.
Although this festival has its origin in paganism, it is also practiced in Christianity. In Europe, on the night of imbolc the peasants march in procession through the fields carrying fire to purify the soil before sowing. The lighting fire represents the Sun gaining strength over the months ahead and becoming ready for Spring. They also honor the deities who preside over the harvests. The great goddess is invoked to bless the land with fertility and great harvests.
How to Celebrate the Feast of Candlemas
General Items used:
- Incense: basil, myrrh, gardenia.
- Tree: birch.
- Color: white.
- Candles: white, red and pink.
- Stones: amethyst, garnet, onyx, turquoise.
- Flowers: snowdrops, white lily, and all white flowers in general
- Planets: Saturn and Uranus.
The main element used for this celebration is the candle. You could set up all the candles in one room and light them from one central candle or place a candle on each window. On the night of the feast, the worshipper wears a white tunic and a crown of thirteen red candles which symbolize wisdom and knowledge. He starts by sweeping inside the magic circle to ban negative influences then he invokes the natural elements and those who keep them.
This can be done by invoking the guardians of the four cardinal points. When calling the four elements, simply ask the help of these monarchs who govern the “elementals” under the umbrella of archangels. The monarch of the east is Paralda; South- has Djinn as monarch; West- has Nixsa as monarch; and the North has Ghob as monarch.
Your altar should be decorated with imbolc symbols such as vase of snowdrops, swan feather, green candles, a Bridey doll or Brigid cross. Also place spruce or cedar, white candles and white flowers.
Place your witch broom very close by as it would be used to symbolically sweep off negative energies of the past, present and future. You will also need other tools such as; athame to trace the circle; bell for announcing the beginning and end of the ritual; the pentacle, the cup and salt.
The food items eaten during this celebration include; pancakes, crepes and all grain-based foods. Due to the round shape and golden colors of pancakes and crepes they are considered symbols of the sun.
Saint Brigid: The Celtic Goddess of Fire
The goddess Brigid (also known as Brighid, Bride, and Brigit) is being worshipped during imbolc as she is believed to bring fertility to the soil. She is the patroness of fire, wisdom and poetry and is associated with healing, fertility, divination and prophecy. This goddess is also worshipped by Catholics as they pay tribute to St Brigit.
The candlemas celebration serves as the perfect time to seek for wisdom, creativity, be hopeful, make new commitments and prepare for new beginnings.