Imbolc, celebrated on February first here in the Northern Hemisphere, and on August 1st in the Southern Hemisphere, is a predominantly female festival, celebrating fertility and the first signs of spring returning to the land. Traditionally it is the festival of the Goddess Brigid, and in Gaelic communities it was custom to lay out a meal and a bed for Brigid in hopes that she would visit your home, bringing luck, fertility and prosperity for the year ahead. Maidens from the local area would parade the Brigid from door to door, singing and dressed in white with their hair loose (symbolising purity).
Imbolc is traditionally associated with the element of Fire, as we celebrate the return of the light. The days are starting to become longer and life is starting to stir. We also celebrate with milk and other dairy foods, celebrating the new lives being born and the return of milk to the livestock. Ritual baths with milk, taken by candlelight, are a lovely way to celebrate.