At the beginning of February, the days will be much longer. Since the winter solstice, 40 days have passed and the sun has already moved noticeably from its lowest level. Although it is still cold and the winter is still around the first February often still its frosty face, but in the morning and in the evening you notice the longer days. Even the light of the sun is already brighter, if it shines. By the beginning of spring is the beginning of February half time. And of course that has to be celebrated. On the one hand, it means to celebrate the increase in sunlight already achieved, on the other hand, it certainly does not hurt if you give the sun with the feast a little nudge and expels the winter.
Imbolc - an old Celts festival
Even the ancient Celts celebrated a festival at the beginning of February to greet the sun. They called it "Imbolc", which means "to feed the lambs for suckling" because at that time the lambs are born. Imbolc is a celebration to put an end to the winter and rejoice in the increasing light. The Celts celebrated this festival with fires designed to raise the sun. The bear of the gods awakens to Imbolc the first time and leaves his cave to see if the sun already has power to warm. This divine bear is the young Sun King, hidden under the fur.
Dedicated to the goddess Brigid
Imbolc is also dedicated to the Godess Brigid, the light maiden.
Legend has it that she was born between flames and pillars of light on a doorstep and was associated with the element of fire over time. Therefore, she is also the patron goddess of the smithy. It also protects the poets and healers. Because she watches over medicine, the Imbolc festival can also be celebrated with a healing ritual to free herself from the winter cold and Zipperleins. Brigid rides to Imbolc on a deer and shakes the trees to wake her up. The seeds also wake her from her hibernation. Through these qualities Brigid embodies the morning, the east and the beginning of the New Year.
Candlemess for the Christians
Since Imbolc was very important to the Celts and Teutons, the Christians were not in a position to simply abolish this festival. Therefore, they have redefined it in the Christian sense, as do many festivals. From Imbolc to Candlemess.
At the beginning of Imbolc was known as "Candlemess" dedicated to Virgin Mary, later called "Christian Candlemess". Imbolc were and are dedicated to Candlemess. In some areas, burning, candles are carried throughout the house, igniting the fire in the hearth.
First and foremost, Imbolc is a feast of fire and light. If you do not want to light a fire, you can light candles instead, best you should be white. Since there was no dancing earlier between the end of November and the beginning of February, a lot of dancing took place at the Imbolc Festival, because you had to do without it for so long.
The oracle was also consulted by the Celts to learn more about the future. One could also conclude one-year probation marriages.
In Austria, three drops of wax are dripped onto a bread and stored for a year. That should bring protection and happiness. The feast should best contain white elements, such as milk, cream, quark or powdered sugar on waffles.
Some farmers shake the trees to wake them up. They also visit their bees to announce the good news of the approaching spring.
Valentine's Day and Fasnacht are also part of the Imbolc Festival. Celebrating Valentine's Day with flowers and the Carnival Feast of Masks and Noisy Acts also serves to greet springtime and drive the winter away.