February 1st marked the traditional ancient Gaelic Festival of Imbolc when our ancestors would celebrate the beginning of Spring. We think that February 1st was chosen as the date to welcome Spring because it falls halfway between the Winter Solstice (December 21st) and the Spring Equinox (March 20th).
Imbolc was originally a Pagan Festival which was christianised by monks and became the festival of Saint Brigid. Brigid is the most important female saint in Ireland and is viewed as the Matriarch of the Irish Churches. Legend has it, that she was a ‘milking maid’ before she became a nun and after her death she became, quite fittingly, the patron saint to dairy farmers and dairy workers as well as numerous other tradesmen and women.
One Imbolc Tradition is to cut dry reeds from a reed bed. When you cut them they look dead, but on closer inspection they only look dead on the outside – inside most of these dry reeds are green and growing inside their dead skin.
I’ve always loved the idea that Spring was celebrated by the ancients at the beginning of February, because somehow it cheers me to think that we are saying goodbye to those long dark winter days and welcoming the return of the sun. Today the sun rose at 7.24am and is setting at 5.05pm – 9 hours 41 minutes of daylight. Amazing!
Nature too, is waking up! The roses in our back garden are beginning to grow their new leaves and the geraniums are in flower. As I walk through the streets of Prague I see how some trees are coming into bud again. Another cycle of nature has begun.
We have an exciting church year ahead of us as we move into Spring. We continue to meet on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month at 11am. We are hosting the EUU Retreat in our beautiful city from April 3rd to April 5th and we have other projects in mind which will be announced in the coming weeks.
See you in Church!
In Faith and with love,