It’s 1st February 2023, which signifies that at present is Imbolc, a Gaelic competition marking the purpose midway between the winter solstice and vernal equinox. Within the previous pagan calendar, at the present time is considered the primary day of spring, as it’s roughly the time when the primary spring lambs are born, daffodils and many others begin to seem, and the times get noticeably longer. It corresponds to the Welsh Gŵyl Honest y Canhwyllau and can be typically known as, moderately fantastically, The Quickening of the 12 months. It’s a time for rebirth and renewal after the darkness of winter. Strolling by the canal on my technique to work this morning, I handed a spot the place two swans have nested for a few years. I observed that final yr’s cygnets – which I noticed on Monday with their mother and father – now seem to have departed for pastures new. That’s the means of issues. It gained’t be lengthy till this yr’s chicks seem.
In Eire Imbolc is often typically referred to a Lá Fhéile Bríde, St Brigid’s Day, after St Brigid of Kildare, whose feast day is 1st February.
Within the Northern hemisphere, in astronomical phrases, the photo voltaic yr is outlined by the 2 solstices (summer time, round June twenty first, and winter, round December twenty first) and the equinoxes (spring, round March twenty first, and Autumn, round September twenty first). These 4 occasions divide the yr into 4 roughly equal elements of about 13 weeks every.
If you happen to divide every of those intervals in two you divide the yr into eight items of six and a bit weeks every. The dates halfway between the astronomical occasions talked about above are the cross-quarter days, of which Imbolc is one. They’re:
- 1st February: Imbolc (Candlemas)
- 1st Could: Beltane (Mayday)
- 1st August: Lughnasadh (Lammas)
- 1st November: Samhain (All Saints Day)
The names I’ve added in italics are taken from the Celtic/neo-Pagan and, in parenthesis the Christian phrases), for the cross-quarter days. These timings are tough as a result of the dates of the equinoxes and solstices differ from yr to yr. Imbolc is commonly taken to be the 2nd of February (Groundhog Day) and Samhain is typically taken to be October thirty first, Halloween however hopefully you get the purpose that though the Pagan festivals have been appropriated by the Christian church, they’ve a lot older origins.
The final three of those additionally coincide carefully with current Financial institution Holidays in Eire, although these are all the time on Mondays so might occur a number of days away. Till this yr, nonetheless, there wasn’t a vacation for Imbolc. Final yr, nonetheless, the Authorities determined to create a brand new Financial institution Vacation that corrects this anomaly. The primary such vacation is subsequent Monday, sixth February, the brand new St Brigid’s Day vacation. which additionally occurs to be the primary nationwide vacation in Eire to be named after a girl.
By the way, the Celts counted every day ranging from sundown, so the Imbolc/St Brigid’s Day celebrations in County Kildare began final evening, thirty first January. Maynooth Fortress – or a minimum of the stays thereof – was illuminated final evening, although I used to be not there to witness it.
Because it additionally occurs, at present is my first Superior Electromagnetism lecture of Semester 2 and in addition the fifth anniversary of the very first lecture I gave in Maynooth, on Computational Physics on 1st February 2018…
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