Imbolc was usually celebrated by lighting sacred fires ( Brigit was the Goddess of Fire, the Fire of Healing and Birth). Bonfires and candles too were lit. Imbolc is variously known as the Feast of Saint Brigid (Secondary Patron of Ireland), Lá Fhéile Bríde, and Lá Feabhra – the first day of Spring.
Ground Hogs Day is a simple celebration it is a time of weather predictions using our animal friends. America uses the Ground Hog, In Ireland and Wales, it was the serpent and rabbit emerging from its burrows. The belief was that if Candlemas was clear and bright there would be six more weeks of winter weather.
The Roman Catholic Church turned this celebration into Candlemas, the day when the candles that were to be used in the church in the coming year were blessed.
Candlemas was celebrated with a festival of lights. In the dark and gloomy days of February, the shadowy recesses of medieval churches twinkled brightly as each member of the congregation carrying a lighted candle in procession around the church, to be blessed by the priest. Afterward, the candles were brought home to be used to keep away storms, demons, and other evils. This custom lasted in England until it was banned in the Reformation for promoting the veneration of magical objects. Even so, the symbol of the lighted candles had too strong a hold on the popular imagination to be entirely cast aside. Traces of the festival lingered until quite recently in other areas of the British Isles like little lights that refused to be blown out. In Wales, Candlemas was known as Gwyl Fair y Canhwyllau, Mary’s Festival of the Candles, and was celebrated as late as the 19th century by setting a lighted candle in the windows or at the table on this night. Special Candlemas carols were sung by singers who processed from house to house.
Ways to celebrate Imbolc now: Lighting candles, seeking omens of Spring, storytelling, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, candle kept burning dusk till dawn; hearth re-lighting if you use a fireplace or wood burning stove in your home. This Sabbat is a time of cleansing and newborn lambs, a good time for the Blessing of seeds. It is a festival of the Maiden in preparation for growth and renewal. Imbolc is a time to honor the Virgin Goddesses, along with the first signs of returning life in a frozen Winter Wonderland in many places.
Rituals/Magic associated with this holiday are:
Cleansing; renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, a feast of milk & bread.