Imbolc is often known as the first day of Spring, and it’s only a couple of weeks away. So today, I am sharing several different ways, including crafts, recipes and ways of how to celebrate Imbolc.
My previous post explains all about the meanings and traditions of Imbolc, and if you would like some background of this festival, you can read that here
How to Celebrate Imbolc ~ Crafts
As the Goddess returns as the maiden, we celebrate Brighid/Brigid, the virgin Goddess who brings new life to the earth.
One of her symbols is the Brigid’s Cross, made from grasses or reeds, it is thought to protect the home from evil, fire and hunger. It is her symbol of the returning sun, and also known as a Celtic Sun Wheel or Solar Cross.
It is relatively easy to make, and is a fun activity to do with children, or as part of an Imbolc ceremony.
You will need:
Grasses, reeds, straw or similar – you can even use some card or stiff paper cut into lengths.
Twine, string or ribbon.
How to Celebrate Imbolc – Recipes
As with all Sabbat festivals, feasting would be the theme of the time! Welcoming the Sun after a long dark winter would certainly be cause to celebrate!
As this is the time of year when ewes are birthing, most Imbolc foods are focused on dairy produce, however for vegan alternatives, you can substitute in the usual way.
While the growth of fresh fruit and vegetables is yet to appear, many recipes will use foods that have been stored over winter, like root vegetables, onions, dried fruit, honey, nuts, seeds, grains and bread..
Here are a few of my favourite recipes that I would like to share with you!
100g (4 oz) caster sugar
450ml (16 fl oz) semi skimmed milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 egg yolks, beaten
75g (3 oz) caster sugar
- Preheat your oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt 100g sugar until golden.
- Divide the caramel between 4 ramekins, tilting them to coat the bases.
- Beat the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl.
In another saucepan, bring milk just to boiling over medium heat.
- Stir the hot milk, a little at a time, into beaten eggs and egg yolks, until well combined.
- Stir in 75g sugar.
- Pour milk mixture evenly into ramekins over the caramel.
- Line a roasting tin with a damp tea towel. Place ramekins on cloth, inside roasting tin, and place roasting tin on an oven rack.
- Fill roasting tin with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes, until set.
- Let cool, invert onto small plates and serve.
Glazed Root Vegetables
You can use any root vegetables for this recipe. My favourites are carrots and parsnips.
75 – 100g butter.
2 teaspoons brown sugar or honey.
½ a vegetable stock cube.
- Place the butter, sugar and crumbled stock cube in a saucepan.
- Peel, wash and slice your vegetables and add to the pan
- Add a small amount of water to the pan to cover the bottom, covering no more than ¼ of the vegetables.
- Bring to the boil with a lid on, and stir to coat all the vegetables.
- Turn the temperature right down to steam the vegetables until tender, stirring occasionally to coat them in the melted butter and sugar mixture.
- If you like your vegetables browned, once the pan has come to the boil, you can transfer to a roasting dish and finish off in the oven.
Spiced Honey Cake
100g salted butter , plus extra for the tin
100g light brown soft sugar
100g runny honey
1 large egg
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground ginger
150g self-raising flour
For the glaze
25g salted butter
25g runny honey
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- Butter and line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment.
- Beat the butter and sugar until creamy.
- Whisk in the honey, egg, milk, spices and a pinch of salt (don’t worry if it curdles slightly, it will become a loose batter), then fold in the flour.
- Tip into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to cool for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the glaze, melt the butter and honey in a small pan until smooth.
- Leave to cool until thickened, then drizzle over the top of the cooled cake. Leave to set before serving.
How to Celebrate Imbolc – symbols, herbs and crystals
Whether you simply wish to decorate your home or are looking for ideas to create an Imbolc altar, here are a few traditional ways:
- White flowers – especially snowdrops, living reminders that Spring is just around the corner.
- Flames and Candles – representing the returning sun
- Knotwork & Solar Cross – The Celtic origins of Brigid.
- Swan Feathers – The swan mates for life and represents loyalty, fidelity and faithfulness. Swan feathers are a powerful amulet.
- Brigid Doll – The making of a Brigid doll which can be included in ceremony. She can be placed in ‘Bride’s Bed’ to bring fertility and good fortune to the home
- The Serpent – In Celtic mythology Brigid was associated with an awakening hibernating serpent which emerged from its lair at Imbolc
- Candle wheels
The colours of the festival
- White – symbolising purity, for the Goddess
- Green – for the growing God and the awaited growth of the Earth
- Reds and yellows – for the returning sun.
The associated crystals
Bloodstone, garnet and ruby, also amethyst, rose quartz, turquoise and moonstone.
Herbs and Incense
Angelica, basil, bay laurel, blackberry, chamomile, lavender, coltsfoot, heather, iris, myrrh, frankincense, jasmine, camphor, cinnamon
Other ways to Celebrate Imbolc
As this is a time of rebirth and new beginnings it’s also an appropriate time for thinking about what you’d like to accomplish, for making goals or choosing a new skill to learn.
Imbolc is also a traditional time for cleansing and renewing – you can do this by enjoying a candle-lit bath or a visit to a well, spring or stream.
Spring cleaning comes from the habit at Imbolc of getting rid of unwanted clutter and preparing for the new season, physically and mentally.
Now is the time to finish old habits and make a fresh start, and realise the world is full of new opportunities.
Imbolc is a time of optimism and for making new plans for the sunny days ahead. Plant the seeds of your plans now and tend them so they mature into your hopes and dreams.
You can find a brief description of all eight festivals of the Wheel of The Year here
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