Imbolc: The Quickening
Aside from being Groundhog’s Day, February 2nd is also the traditional date of Imbolc, or “Imbolc Brigantina” also known as St. Brigit’s Day. The actual high holy date falls precisely halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal or Spring Equinox, which this year is on February 4th.
Brigit or Brighid is the Celtic Goddess of the Forge, and on her day, she awakens the sleeping earth with her power of creative fire. She’s known as the inspirer of poets and writers and artists of all kinds.
The Christians adopted her and changed the holiday to St. Brigit’s Day because it was easier to do that than to get the Pagans to give up their Goddess.
The Catholic mass celebrated on this day is called Candlemas, and St. Brigit is depicted with a crown of glowing candles.
A temple to Brighid that existed in Kildare, with 9 priestesses in charge of tending an eternal flame, was converted to a church. There are now 9 nuns there tending that same fire, and they wear red nail polish as did the priestesses of Brighid before them.
By the way, the correct pronunciation of the Goddess’s name depends on who you ask, many say “Breed” or just “Bree” and others “Bride” but natives of the Celtic lands say, “Bree-yah.”