Friday, 1 February 2019

Ist February ....Imbolc and tomorrow the 2nd........ Candlemas

Imbolc (pronounced imulk) was a Gaelic festival promising the change from winter to spring. Halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox celebrating  a stirring of life after winter and fertility at the beginning of the season.
The word Imbolc may derive from old Irish meaning 'in the belly' referring to the pregnancy of the ewes and the beginning of lambing. The celebration  was presided over by the Goddess of youth and fertility -Bride

Later came the Christian festival of Candlemas the popular name for the feast of the Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin. Forty days after the birth of a baby mothers had to go to the temple to be ritually cleansed.

Both celebrated with the lighting of candles and fires. People would visit holy wells and ask for good health and water would be taken to bless the home and family.

Below is a February page from The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady

 February has more weather folklore than any other month and even though it's the last month of winter, there could still be lots of bad weather to come

In the barn on Candlemas Day should be half the straw and half the hay

When gnats dance in February, the husbandman becomes a beggar

A February spring is not worth a pin

Fogs in February mean frosts in May

If Candlemas day be cloudy and black
T'will carry cold winter away on its back;
But if Candlemas Day be fine and clear,
Then half the winter's  to come this year.

Which will be correct this year? - If any!


I'm not keen on January but February is usually a bit more hopeful and although only 3 days shorter than January it seems to go more quickly. There are often some good days although snow is just as likely, but the sunny days can have a touch of spring about them. It's also the time I get started with some seed sowing.........indoors only - needs to be much warmer for me to venture into the greenhouse.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

37 comments:

  1. Thanks for another informative and interesting post, Sue. I like February too, lots of Spring bulbs popping up everywhere, daffodils and blossom already in evidence. Snow here, although not as much as we had last February.

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    1. Dark Snow clouds now arriving over the cottage, we had just a small dusting over night. I'm hoping we don't get what they have in the States!

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  2. January to me as gone in a blink of an eye, roll on Spring.

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  3. February is usually the bleakest month in eastern England weather wise. Last year it got through to March.

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    1. When I did after school and holiday childminding there always seemed to be snow in February half term when I had 7 aged between 3 and 12 to look after - all those wet gloves and welly boots!

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    2. We were most often snowed in at the farm in Feb.

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  4. As always, so interesting thank you. I love the way the days get noticeably longer through this month and, of course, the bulbs can be lovely, snow or no snow!
    xx

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    1. I found a dozen more sayings too but they were mainly just variations on the theme

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  5. Never seen reference to it being so but I always think Imbolc...imulk...in milk? x

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  6. I remember my sister-in-law going through the Churching of Women ceremony about 50 years ago. Even as a child, I thought it was a terrible thing that a woman would have to be formally accepted back into the church in this way, just because she'd had a baby.

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    1. I am 54 and my mother was Churched after my birth. It seems a very odd idea now! I love the picture from The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady, Sue. Thanks for sharing.

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    2. I remember when my son was born (1959) and the first time I was home from the hospital I went to church and the vicar said prayers to me for the safe delivery of my son and myself. There was only me and the vicar.
      Hazel c uk

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    3. I had no idea it carried on in places for so long

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  7. I only recently learnt that Candlemas is the only lucky day to take down your Xmas decorations if you missed Twelfth Night. Our local council still has the Xmas banners up in the streets and I wondered if some superstitious public servant had deliberately left them, waiting just for today. But, nope, they are still hanging there!

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  8. I have a jug of Christmas green silk cuttings on my kitchen window sill, which should be removed tomorrow, but the do look lovely, but if I call it my winter display, can I get away with leaving them there, they are a joy to look at.

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    1. I left half my Christmas Mantel-piece things in situ as they became the Winter display so I'm risking bad luck too!

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  9. We currently have fine and clear weather so we’ll hope we don’t have half the winter still to come as happened last year. Great post again for the first of the month-I learn something new from your blog, Sue, often.

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  10. I have a feeling we still have half the winter to come as for the last few years winter seems to have been extended into March with some mild spells in between.
    I like the shorter month in February after the long January and the days are drawing out a bit too.

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  11. I much prefer your idea of Candlemas to our Canadian groundhog day! -Jenn

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  12. Hoping you don't get the US artic temps. Was -14C here yesterday morning. Today a high of -3. But that is nothing compared to the mid-west where temps have hit -40 or worse. I used to live in Minnesota and remember a few -30s. Not fun. On the other hand, next week it supposed to hit 15C here for a day or so before dropping back to 0C. February can be regular roller-coaster ride, weather-wise.

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    1. The weather in Chicago and around about has been featured in the news here several times - frighteningly cold.

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    2. I agree with you about February Sue - although only three days shorter than the months either side of it, it always seems a lovely short month.

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  13. February can be quite the month for Winter storms so certainly a month to keep the storage cupboard well stocked. I enjoyed seeing the February page fro the Nature Notes.

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    1. Yes, I'm well stocked with food, wood and heating oil but we often don't get as much snow as further west and north

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  14. So interesting your first of posts. Still freezing here. Snow forecast for Sunday but it says 'light snow' whatever that means!

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    1. We have a little snow here Wednesday and it's still laying around waiting for more

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  15. I enjoy all the folklore you provide us. Starting a few seeds reinforces the promise of Spring, a happy thing.

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    1. I mustn't get carried away and start too soon because it then gets difficult if we get cold weather later

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  16. I can NEVER remember how to say Imbolc, it will always be Im-bolk to me, although my spellcheck says it should be the word 'limbo' ... haha

    I really interesting read, you are learning us well this past few months ...


    ... kidding about the 'learning' bit, I can never resist ;-)

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    1. I'm just pleased to have found a good use for all my folklore and weather sayings books

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  17. Thanks that was very interesting reading. Here in Canada we are in the midst of winter, which will probably be here for at least another 2 months.

    God bless.

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