Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day & Imbolc!

My grandmother always said that today, if the groundhog sees its shadow, we'd have 6 more weeks of winter, and if it didn't, there'd only be a month and a half til Spring. Technically both are correct, as there are 46 days until the Vernal Equinox, when Spring officially begins, and that, my friends, is approximately 6 weeks, or a month a a half.

So around the continent this morning, people are turning to the favorite marmot prognosticator for the report. By far, Punxsutawney Phil get the most publicity, but there are plenty of others to look to if Phil doesn't give the answer you want. This year, my bets are on Staten Island Chuck and Dunkirk Dave, both native New Yorkers like myself, who predict an early Spring.

I'd look nervous too; last year he bit the mayor!

Advance photo/Irving Silverstein

Today is also the pagan holiday of Imbolc, from which today's Groundhog Day celebrations probably sprung. Imbolc marks the midway point between the Winter & Spring solstices and was a time when people living off the land needed to have half their stores left to make it through until Spring. This is also about the time the sheep would begin to give birth, and farmers could now add lamb and milk to their meals.

Imbolc was also dedicated to Brigid (who may have later become the Catholic St. Brigid), a sun goddess of healing, poetry, and metal smithing, who brings us creativity and wisdom. Girls and young women would make corn dollies to represent Brigid, then parade them around the neighborhood to bring luck and blessings to the homes that welcome them or offer them small treats or coins. Other rituals dedicated to Brigid included lighting candles and bonfires, having poetry contests, and divination.

The Goddess Brigid on Imbolc

by Jennifer Galasso

This year, a year we have dedicated to Celebrations, we have decided to celebrate both Groundhog Day and Imbolc. Later this afternoon, we are going to a local nature center to search for signs of Spring. We are lucky that the weather has been slightly warming up (still below freezing but in the high 20s today!) and our walk won't be too bitterly cold.

When we return home, we'll be taking pots and pans and all sorts of noise makers outside and parading around the house to wake up the spirits of the land and bring Spring sooner! Then as our feast is cooking, we'll be making Brigid's Crosses from paper to hang in our windows, and possibly even Bride Dolls or maybe even having a poetry contest!

For dinner we're having lamb stew, milk, and seed bread, followed by a guided meditation about planting seeds within ourselves, which like the seeds outside under the snow, will grow and blossom in the Spring. And for dessert, Groundhog Cupcakes!

From Disney's Family Fun

1 comment:

  1. Don't you just love all the "old holidays" - lots of excuses to bang drums, light candles or bonfires, sing and dance. (or just be in awe of Mother Nature with no ritual whatsoever) I half jokingly tell folks I'm pagan because we've got the best and most frequent excuses to celebrate.


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