|A Bríd's Cross|
In Christian times Imbolc was conflated with the veneration of Saint Bríd. Bríd is also a goddess, a prominent member of the Tuatha Dé, and it is no accident that the Church synchronized Imbolc to Lá Fhéile Bríde (Saint Brid's Day). It was a way to allow the people to continue their ancient custom, but place it into the Judeo-Christian cosmology.
The etymology of Imbolc has several theories, but given its ancient origins, it is most likely from an early proto Celtic word 'embibolgon' which means 'budding.' And, this is when the first buds on early blooming plants start to show the signs of the growing sunlight at this latitude.
In Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man, there are numerous accounts throughout the centuries to the present, of people celebrating this festival. Saint Bríd is a very thinly Christianized form of the older goddess Bríd and the saint retains many of the attributes of the older goddess.
So I wish you all a Merry Imbolc and a Happy Saint Bríd's Day. Light a candle tonight after sundown, and have a glass of drink and salute the growing daylight and wish the best to your family and loved ones.
© Barry R McCain
Finding the McCains