Today, February 2, is not only Groundhog day and Superbowl Sunday, it is Imbolc. As mentioned in last year’s Imbolc article, “Easy Vegan dinner for Imbolc,” (with recipes), Imbolc (pronouced Im-olk) is one of the Pagan 8 yearly Sabbats and can be referred to as St. Brigid’s Day, Candlemas, or the Mid-Winter Festival of Lights. It is the time between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox when we look forward to Spring and seed is prepared for planting. We burn candles to symbolize the longer days and shorter nights ahead (yay!). It can be a time to begin Spring cleaning (except for procrastinators like me).
I learned from saintbrigid-canton.com that St. Brigid is the patron saint for babies, blacksmiths, boatmen, cattle, chicken farmers, children whose parents are not married, creativity, dairymaids, dairy workers, fugitives, infants, Ireland, mariners, midwives, milk maids, poets, poultry raisers, printing pressers, sailors, scholars, travelers and watermen. That’s a big list. St. Brigid is also a triple goddess (depicted as Maiden, Mother and Crone – the various stages of life). An aside regarding the triple goddess: This past Samhain, while at the annual Cabot Kent Hermetic Temple ritual & celebration, a fellow witch remarked on my silver earrings, fleur-de-lis that I had purchased during my most awesome trip to New Orleans. She liked them and said, “Triple goddess.” Yes! I had never thought of that – and another reason to love them.
Burn white candles for Imbolc
Imbolc is a festival of light. White candles should be lit. While it may be satisfying to make your own candles for this holiday, it can be dangerous if not done the right way as wax is flammable when not heated correctly. Store-bought candles are plentiful and inexpensive, so I go with those. Yankee Candle has a nice scent that would go great for Imbolc: Sparkling Snow. The description given is: The crisp, naturally fresh scent of gleaming, snow-covered pines with hints of patchouli and fruit. It is sold in all sizes – from jars (medium jar is $25) to tea light ($10 for a box of 12) to the very inexpensive tart melts ($2 each). That said, make your own if you enjoy it, or burn simple white tea lights around the room if you don’t wish to purchase extra items.
- Super easy yogurt and quick oats – no cooking needed
Eat dairy for Imbolc
Dairy foods are eaten as Imbolc celebrates the festival of calving. Goulash would be an appropriate supper – recipe below – or any meal with an element of dairy in it. If you are lactose intolerant, a breakfast or other meal of yogurt may be easier to digest.
One of my favorite breakfasts is a mixture of yogurt and oatmeal that is super easy and requires no cooking. The night before I layer yogurt and quick oats in a pint canning jar, shake it up and refrigerate. In the morning, the oats are softened and ready to eat. You can add granola, raisins, and chopped fresh or dried fruit. Delicious!
More decorating and craft ideas for Imbolc
- Make a St. Brigid’s cross.
- Decorate each room with straw baskets.
- Hang eucalyptus in the shower. The steam from the shower will release oils in the plant that help with congestion – good for the cold month of February, whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow or not.
- Make birdseed hearts and stars. We always help our animal friends, especially in the cold months when they rely on us for food. I found a very nice site with directions for this on citytosticks.com. Also a great activity for children.
Hungarian Goulash Recipe
This is the BEST Hungarian Goulash recipe I have ever tasted. I got it from my sister and have enjoyed it for many years. Hope you do too.
8 TBS Butter/Margarine
6 medium Onions, thinly sliced (about 2 lbs.)
2 lbs. Beef Stew Meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup Paprika (yes, this much)
2 tsp Salt
1 Bay Leaf
1 cup Sour Cream
Poppy seed noodles
About 3-1/2 hours before serving:
In dutch oven mover medium-high heat, in hot butter/margarine, cook onions, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add stew meat, paprika, salt and bay leaf. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 3 hours or until meat is fork-tender, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf. Stir in sour cream. Serve over noodles. Makes 6 servings.
P.S. If meat sticks to the pan, add a TBS or 2 of water.