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Halfway to Spring: Celebrating Imbolc and my Instagram Live tomorrow
We’re officially almost halfway to Spring. 1st February marks the Celtic festival of Imbolc: the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox in the Celtic Wheel of the year. Since learning more about the Wheel and its associated traditions, I’ve become much more attuned to the smaller seasonal shifts - this week definitely didn’t feel like Spring yet, but the light and tentative warmth emanating from the sun spoke to lighter, longer days that are coming, little by little, as we edge away from Winter.
Following the Wheel has also given me the welcome excuse to celebrate these season shifts, taking note from our ancestors. Imbolc, the so-called ‘quarter festival’, is a celebration of the returning light, growth, fertility and renewal. It also coincides with the Christian Holiday Candlemas and both celebrations are associated with light, particularly the lighting of candles. Fire symbolises purification and protection, welcoming the return of sunshine. In the Celtic tradition, the hearth fire was usually extinguished and re-lit, with candles in each room and a broom placed by the door to symbolise the cleaning out of the old and celebration of the new.
To mark the festival I’ll be making the beeswax candles from my newsletter a couple of weeks ago – join me live tomorrow at 11 a.m. on my Instagram to see how I make them. Fingers crossed there will be less spilt wax than there was during my dry run this afternoon! But seriously - I’d love for you to join me in my kitchen to celebrate this cosy Winter make and mark the passing of the seasons together in my favourite way: crafting.
Another way I like to mark the shifting seasons is setting the table for a simple, celebratory meal. Here are some photos of my set-up last Imbolc, as I’ve not got round to digging out the linens yet this year (I thought I’d make the candles first!).
In these images, I’ve styled the table in shades of white and green that reflect the colours of nature at this time of year, plus a red accent or two for a little much-needed brightness. I’ve used this Angela Mugnai tablecloth so much since I got it in the sale just after Christmas last year - I thought it was the perfect blend of Winter and Spring with its ditsy edelweiss print.
To tie in with the greens and reds from the tablecloth, I added red and green Fairholme Studio beeswax and soy blend candles to my Pops and Piaf candlestick holders. I tied my coordinating red gingham Angela Mugnai napkins with gold the Natural Dyeworks ribbons too. Snowdrops are often associated with Imbolc and are just beginning to emerge; these indoor beauties are from English Potted Plant Co and brought me so much joy in their vintage pots last year. I’ve been reusing the pots to make an early Spring bulb display this year - more on that soon.
I find there’s something so comforting in the knowledge that the coming of Spring has been celebrated at this time for thousands of years, a reminder of the cycle of the seasons and the certainty they provide in such an uncertain world. The older I get, the more strongly I feel that life isn’t about the big things but the wee things, like lighting the candles and celebrating another seasonal milestone. Merry Imbolc!