"Imbolc observes the midpoint (and hopefully) the waning of winter and approach of spring (more likely in the The UK where the celebration originates... (less likely in northern climates where winter has several months to go) . Pagans often use fire and other forms of light to encourage the lengthening of day... such a lighting a candle. Seed and bud imagery may be used, as well, to promote the growth of new life ensured by springtime.
Imbolc falls on the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Although it is attributed to the celts, ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and indigenous groups are also believed to have celebrated an equivalent holiday.
The term 'Imbolc' derives from Old Irish and means "in the belly," or alternately "ewe's milk." The interpretation lends significance to the holiday as a celebration of fertility, reproduction and the young -- all overseen by the goddess Brigid. As with many pagan holidays, food and music are essential. Dishes for Imbolc tend to incorporate seeds, dairy and other spring-evoking foods.
Imbolc is also a time for spring cleaning. Some clean their homes, take ritual baths and de-clutter their lives in other ways. This is believed to create space for the goddess to come into people's live and for new seeds to take root in the coming spring." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/01/imbolc-2014_n_4697460.html
In North America, we have our own Feb 2nd celebration of mid winter : Groundhog Day!
According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.
I love the film Groundhog Day about a cynical journalist (Bill Murray) who lives Groundhog Day over and over again until he gets what life is really about. Brilliant! I have watched it at least ten times!!
Whatever you celebrate today... light a candle or catch a groundhog... its about the return of the light. Whatever shadows or darkness you face in your life, light a candle to remind you of the inner light that is always shining.
Light trumps darkness ... every time!
Let it shine! Let it shine!Let it shine!!