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I'm going to expand this stub unless someone does some work on it soon... sjc

1 February?[edit]

From Laurel Bush 10:40, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC):

I imagine the date has been shifted by creation of the modern calendar. Modern months define quite arbitary periods. The mid-point between winter solstice and spring equinox is a few days later than February 1st, and half way through Aquarius.


Any mention of Imbolc/Imbolg by name before the 15th century would be an addition that would lend seriousness to this entry. And any online reference that isn't selling scented candles etc? --Wetman 10:54, 5 Feb 2005 (UT


Many who celebrate this holiday today do so on the new moon in Aquarius. This date changes every year. It is believed that this was when it was celebrated before the 12 month calendar came into use.

Reference added. Zymurgy 21:40, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Happy Imbolc[edit]

Happy Imbolc everyone! Zymurgy 19:05, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

"Dark Lord" reference[edit]

That line, "During the Winter, the Maiden is with the Dark Lord and the land is bare." seems a bit fishy to me. I don't really know what to do... any thoughts?Ridan 22:52, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Deleted. --Kathryn NicDhàna 05:11, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Overhaul and Cleanup[edit]

This article had a heavy bias towards modern Neopagan interpretations/creations, and a tendency to treat the Irish and Scottish practices as only existing in the distant past. I have done a fairly major overhaul, but it could still use some work. At a cursory glance, the links seem to be almost all Wiccan, for instance. --Kathryn NicDhàna 05:11, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Checked the links. Some were broken, others insufferably twee and/or full of misinformation (Ireland is a mystickal, magickal land! The Dark Lord rules the Winter!!). Nicholson's is good, so I left that. I'm not crazy about the one other one I left, as that site has some garbage on it, but for now I left it. I'll google for some better ones. One I will suggest here, but it may not be my place to actually add it to the article as I wrote this one, is from the CR FAQ: "What do you do for Imbolc?" Off to look for others. --Kathryn NicDhàna 06:16, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Hello Kathyrn, I've since done to this article what I did with the Samhain article before in making a clear distinction between neopagan groups that observe the holiday. Please correct and add any information you feel appropriate. :bloodofox: 02:54, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Hi! Thanks for your work! The "twa winters" thing is in McNeill; I'll try to source it tomorrow. I can see a few things I want to poke at, but it's definitely looking better. What do you think about the Samhain and Imbolc links to the FAQ for external links? (My feelings will not be hurt if you think they're not suitable. ;-)) --Kathryn NicDhàna 03:33, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
No trouble! Personally, I'd prefer more organization amongst the external links, as they seem pretty scattered. However, it can get out of hand when you subcategorize external links. I've gone back to your 'see also' sections in this article and in Samhain article. On this article, I made some subcategories and on the others I simple alphabetized it. It's probably best to go with one or the other, instead of leaving a space divide them. Your choice. :bloodofox: 06:10, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

"Sabbats" nav box[edit]

I have removed the "Sabbats" box that was recently placed at the top of this article. I feel it is misleading in that it re-instates the POV that Imbolc is primarily a Wiccan or Neopagan thing. We have worked hard to make this and the other Gaelic fire festivals more historically accurate, and more reflective of the spectrum of people who observe the festival. We have a Gaelic festivals nav box at the bottom, and links in the body to the Wiccan "wheel of the year"; we do not need an additional nav box for the Wiccan sabbats. --Kathryn NicDhàna 20:34, 26 November 2006 (UTC)


in the belly = sa bholg

in a belly = i mbolg

There is a difference that might not seem of import, but as Irish has no indefinite article, I'd thought I'd point out the cleft

Wiccan section[edit]

This bit has been waiting on a cite for quite a while now, and I'm not sure what to do with it:

"On the other hand, there is no evidence that Imbolc was celebrated in pre-Christian times anywhere other than in Ireland, whereas the celebration of Candlemas began in the eastern Mediterranean. [citation needed]"

Do others think it would work to just cut it down to:

"On the other hand, there is no evidence that Imbolc was celebrated in pre-Christian times anywhere other than in Ireland."

Or should we just avoid having to prove a negative and cut the sentence all together? ~ Kathryn NicDhàna 21:01, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Certainly there are two statements here and each should be seperately supported. Combining them appears to be leading the reader. OTOH, while it is impossible to prove a negative, it is possible to cite a source which discusses that lack of evidence: if there is such a source, I think it is valuable information and should be included. Jefferson Anderson 21:06, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Weasel words tag removal[edit]

I've removed the Weasel words tag from the article because I think this is pretty much taken care of. The Wiccan section is thin but sourced. (It could certainly use more work.) There are what could be considered weasel words in the Neopagan section but a closer look reveals they fall under an exception clause where "...the holders of the opinion are too diverse or numerous to qualify." Perhaps these groups and traditions could be enumerated and listed but the specific list would be long and awkward. I believe the cites on each paragraph substantiate the statements. --Pigmantalk 00:03, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Hmm, thanks for looking at it. I think a lot of what looks like weasel words that is left in other places is just people being overly cautious about definitions. I am going to be bold and remove some of them, since I don't believe that they are actually intended to be references to specific set of groups of people at all, but simply hedging uncertainties that are explained later in the article. Feel free to revert some or all of what I do if you disagree. Jefferson Anderson 16:26, 2 February 2007 (UTC)


Err, there are no snakes in Ireland, never have been. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

The folklore that mentions snakes is from Scotland. In Ireland, the salmon is usually the creature that represents many of the qualities other, related cultures associate with snakes (such as wisdom and longevity). - Kathryn NicDhàna 20:34, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Celtic section[edit]

It talks a bit about Newgrange and other Neolithic references. Neolithic is before the Celtic invasion, thus Newgrange and the other bits should not be listed under "Celtic Origins."Penguinwithin 04:28, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Good catch! I can't believe I didn't notice that it was confusing to have it in that section. Thanks for fixing it. - Kathryn NicDhàna 05:17, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

I suggest that the phrase "Celtic invasion" above be replaced by "adoption of Celtic language and culture". I believe current studies have failed to find evidence of an invasion and now believe that a slower process of absorption of of Celtic culture occurred. In her book "In Search of Ancient Ireland" Carmel Mccaffrey cites a couple of theories as to the method that infused Celtic language and culture into Ireland. CaitSidhe (talk) 15:26, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Lactation of Ewes[edit]

The following change was made today. I considered reverting as a flawed good faith edit but I thought it worth discussion here. The para first looked like this:

"Among agrarian peoples, the festival was traditionally associated with the onset of lactation of ewes, soon to give birth to the spring lambs. This could vary by as much as two weeks before or after the start of February.[1]"

Then like this:

"Although it is said that among agrarian peoples the festival was traditionally associated with the onset of lactation of ewes, soon to give birth to the spring lambs, this is unlikely to be so. Only in the far south, such as Cornwall, would the grass be growing sufficiently for it to be worth ewes lambing so early. The usual time for lambing would have been April, when the really good grass is available to refuel the ewe after her trials and to feed the lamb once it begins to be weaned."

One problem is the removal of a reference suited to the content of the para. Of more concern to me is the additional material doesn't actually address the original point of the para: the onset of lactation in preparation for the birth of the lambs. I have no idea when the lactation begins but it obviously seems to occur sometime before the birth of the lambs in April. This makes sense to me. IOW, I think the original para was perfectly fine but the additional material actually muddies the point by confusing onset of lactation with the actual birth of the lambs. These are separate events. I don't know for certain about the reality of lambing but the para is about the traditional associations as sourced in Chadwick.

Does anyone have input on this point? Pigman 16:36, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Check the change I made. The edit in question removed sourced content and added OR. As the theory is disputed, it's fair to mention this, but as for expounding upon it in any detail, that would need to be sourced. Hopefully the change I made is a workable compromise, at least until additional sources are cited. - Kathryn NicDhàna 20:33, 30 October 2007 (UTC)


  1. ^ Chadwick (1970) p. 181

Non-Denominational and Astrological Recognition[edit]

This section is pure conjecture, unreferenced and in many ways meaningless. It is also fairly unencyclopedic. I suggest it is removed. MidnightBlue (Talk) 20:25, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree for the same reasons. It's gone. If it comes back with more sources, it would be nice to have Wikipedia links to other topics like "Groundhog day". Lessthanideal (talk) 23:53, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Looks like this was re-added, so I removed it. As we have megalithic alignments oriented to the sunrise at the time of the festival, I do think the position of the sun is relevant. But the megaliths are already mentioned. For getting into astrological and astronomical detail beyond that, it needs to be sourced. - Kathryn NicDhàna 20:44, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

The pre-celtic section refers to Loughcrew having an allignment on imbolc and samhain. This is not correct, the allignment can be observed around the 23th March and 20th September, the equinoxes. Sensibleken (talk) 16:09, 24 November 2009 (UTC)sensibleken

Now how did that creep in? Wikipedia... You are of course correct. Off to fix it. - Kathryn NicDhàna 23:12, 24 November 2009 (UTC)


Is this the Feast of Saint Brigid (1 February), Candlemas (2 February - by definition 40 inclusive days from Christmas), halfway from the solstice to the equinox (around 4 February), or the first day of Spring (meteorologically closer to 1 March). Or is it a claim to be the origin of everything in the spring? -- (talk) 15:09, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

edit - adds[edit]

Have added some more refs, links, pics and detailing. Downsized the POV while trying to keep all the diverse threads of celebration. Celtic, Irish, Pagan, american and cross European references all held. Happy Imbolc! Spanglej (talk) 18:38, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Recent revert of "...large scale deletion"[edit]

I recently edited the article to restore some of the refs, structure and focus on the historical and current Gaelic cultural celebrations of Imbolc. Spanglej reverted those changes wholesale. [Here] is the version after my edits. [Here] is the version after Spanglej's revert.

The focus on the Gaelic cultural celebration is in keeping with its origins and current observance in Gaelic lands. The article is not (and should not become) a catch-all for any celebration around this time of year. Wiccan and related Neopagan views on the holiday were dealt with in subsections because they are secondary to the origins. Wiccans/Neopagans might not think so but since some of their practice is an amalgam of influences other than the historical/current Gaelic cultural holiday, it seems best to be very specific. The current version of the article dissolves clear articulation of specifics into a rather muddled blend of all things being equal. This is not the case and it does not improve the article to, for instance, change the section "St. Bridgid's Day" to "Bridgid" when the refs/sources are quite specific to St. Bridgid's Day.

Although the version I ended with had problems (for example, the lede was too long and unfocused), I still think it was an improvement on the intermingling of unreferenced genero-Wiccan additions throughout the text. So I'm reverting back to my last version and will then work on smoothing out the problems I see in the article. Cheers, Pigman☿/talk 15:35, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

While it's fine for people to add reliable, relevant, sourced content about the Gaelic festival, I have to agree that the changes Pigman was correcting had muddied the article. Agree strongly that this is not an article about "Things that happen around Feb. 1". It's about Imbolc, which is a Gaelic festival. The delineated sections near the bottom, which touch on Neopagan obvervances, should be kept brief and clear, rather than be merged into the body. Any further expansion on the Neopagan observances belong in those Neopagan articles, especially when they diverge from the Gaelic festival. Also, "Celtic" is not the same as "Gaelic". Pigman was correcting this misnaming. This was a stable, well-done article before those recent changes. It could and can use improvement, but for the most part, the earlier version (with the delineated sections and the proper naming re - "Gaelic" vs "Celtic") is the one we should work from. Slàn, - Kathryn NicDhàna 20:55, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau[edit]

Looking over the Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau article, and this article, and the fact that we're talking P-Celtic for one and Q-Celtic for the other, I think it's important that we don't just say Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau is the "Welsh Imbolc" and lump it in with the Gaelic. I'm going to adjust some things to clarify that Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau is a related festival. Additionally, if we can't find evidence for pre-Christian Welsh observance, Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau may be primarily related to Christian Candlemas, not Gaelic Imbolc. - Kathryn NicDhàna 21:49, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

yes, but is it a related festival? Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau is just the Welsh term for Candlemas. The question is therefore, is there a relation (or identity) of Imbolc with Candlemas?

Imbolc is St. Bridid's Day, celebrated on 1 February. Candlemas is on 2 February. The actual Irish name of Candlemas is Lá Fhéile Muire na gCoinneal, not Imbolc.

When I google Imbolc and Candlemas, I get lots of Wiccan literature talking of "Imbolc/Candlemas", "Imbolc or Candlemas", but so far no serious reference that explains that the two are related. This needs better references. --dab (𒁳) 15:45, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

St. Brigid's cross[edit]

Not a mention in this article or Wiki. link to Brigid's cross. Some article this is!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:53, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Brigid's cross seems to be a Christian symbol. Imbolc is primarily a pagan festival. Span (talk) 23:19, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Wiccan section[edit]

In the Wiccan section the article states that Imbolc's association with Brigid and hence the Goddess is a reason for rites that are specific to women on this day within Wicca. Although sourced .This is completely erroneous. Perhaps this is true in Diannic Wicca but not Wicca as a whole. If it were true then Wicca would be exclusively for women which it isn't as the Goddess features prominently in much of Wicca. Are we to also believe that full moons because of their association with the Goddess are reserved exclusively for females to the exclusion of males. This is inaccurate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mathunehor (talkcontribs) 00:20, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Southern Recognition[edit]

These celebrations are not sate based but instead are based on the seasons and moon cycles. As such, the northern hemisphere has an opposite set of dates for the Wheel of the Year, than in the south. I think this should be noted somewhere, but I don't know how to proceed. An assist? (talk) 05:43, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

"Christians observe it as the feast day of St Brigid, especially in Ireland"[edit]

Well, no, Christians don't observe Imbolc. They observe St Brigid's feast day on the same day. If the article wants to claim that Christians have replaced Imbolc with St Brigid, then find a source and make the claim. Or if the article wants to claim that Christians really do celebrate Imbolc, find a source, because right now that statement is unsupported. And to say "especially in Ireland" is egregious - who outside of Ireland has ever heard of Imbolc? --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 17:51, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

Agreed — this passage is mis-worded, though the "linkage" between Imbolc and St Brigid's feast day is complex. See The Goddess Obscured by Pamela Berger, p. 71. (Referenced in the article on Brigid of Kildare. I feel compelled to point out that Imbolc is indeed known outside of Ireland. In fact, I'm attending an Imbolc celebration in New Orleans next week! --Editor B (talk) 18:37, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

Biddy's night?[edit]

Just wondering if the section on Biddy's night could be cited a bit better, and maybe trimmed down? From what I can see, the festival was only revived this year, but the organizers are insinuating that they are reviving an ancient celtic tradition (as paraphrased by [1] and [2] for example), but the only historical mention I can find is in reference to a catholic tradition honouring St. Brigid ([3] and [4]). Additionally, the text is entirely lifted from the festival website, so I wonder if it should even be in there at all. Any thoughts? Wasechun tashunkaHOWLTRACK 18:14, 29 August 2017 (UTC)