Imbolg (more commonly called Imbolc) is almost here. It's 1st/2nd February, Monday (tomorrow)/Tuesday in 2021. Some people celebrate it from sundown on 1st Feb to sundown on 2nd, although I tend to celebrate on the 2nd. Another name is Candlemas (which is also a Christian festival).
I've previously written some posts with ideas and inspiration for celebrating, which you can find below:
Imbolg Celebration Ideas: : https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/01/imbolg-celebration-ideas.html
Imbolg Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/01/imbolg-inspiration.html
More Imbolg Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.om/2020/01/more-imbolg-inspiration.html
Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's nearly Lammas! Check out these posts for inspiration:
Celebrating Lammas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/07/celebrating-lammas.html
Baking for Lammas + Extra Ideas!: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2020/07/baking-for-lammas-extra-ideas.html
Imbolg is the first spring festival on the Wheel of the Year and the first sabbat of the new calendar year. The new year on the Wheel began at either Samhain or Yule, depending on your beliefs. It's a cross-quarter day, in between Yule/the Winter Solstice in December, and Oestara/Ostara aka the Spring Equinox in March. You will more often find it called Imbolc, but I first came across it as Imbolg in Kate West's books The Real Witches' Kitchen and The Real Witches' Handbook. It's also called February Eve, since in some traditions Imbolg is celebrated from 31st Jan to 1st Feb.
Groundhog Day is also celebrated in North America at this time. Visit this post to read more about it: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/01/imbolg-inspiration.html
We're now moving out of winter and into spring, and will start seeing more signs of the earth waking up. I've already seen a few daffodils starting to come up in my area.
This sabbat is also a festival of light since days are growing steadily longer, and the feast of the Irish Fire Goddess Brigid. You can read more about Brigid and Imbolc in general, here: http://www.aurorastar.co.uk/2021/01/imbolc-2021-the-return-of-spring
Since I've written quite a lot in past posts, I'll just share a few links with ideas for celebrating, and then a few more ideas. Please also check out the other posts for more inspiration. :)
This is a good post if you consider yourself a secular witch: https://thefatfeministwitch.com/2017/01/27/a-secular-witchs-guide-to-the-sabbats-imbolc
Imbolc/Candlemas correspondences and writing prompts: https://www.thepeculiarbrunette.com/imbolc-candlemas-correspondences-and-22-writing-prompt-ideas/
Ideas for celebrating no matter your tradition: https://www.growingupherbal.com/spring-holidays-imbolc-how-to-celebrate-this-old-world-festival/
Celebrating Imbolc 2021: https://rhymeandribbons.com/2021/01/celebrating-imbolc-2021.html
10 Ways to Celebrate Imbolc: https://www.moodymoons.com/2021/01/27/10-ways-to-celebrate-imbolc/
Activities for toddlers: https://thehermitshandicrafts.wordpress.com/2019/01/31/imbolc-activities-for-toddlers/
Food and drink ideas
My main celebration for sabbats is making food and drink. That was how I started after reading The Real Witches' Kitchen. I normally make pancakes for Imbolg, inspired by the book. They are a good way to celebrate since they use eggs and milk, which are both linked with this sabbat. Although eggs are more associated with Oestara and the "official" start of spring time.
I have made both English pancakes (similar to crepes) and American pancakes. This year I'm planning to make these oatmeal pancakes: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/oatmeal-pancakes/
Pancake Day is also around Imbolg usually, so I'll make English pancakes for that. It's on Tuesday 16th February (it's always a Tuesday and another name for it is Shrove Tuesday). Here are a few more pancake recipes:
My family pancake recipe: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2015/02/pancake-day.html
My favourite recipe in recent years (it has vegetable oil in the batter): https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/easy-pancakes
Recip for Pancake Day (good for Imbolg too!): https://www.britmums.com/12-pancake-recipes-for-shrove-tuesday
Apple glow pancakes (American): https://happilyevaafter.com/apple-glow-pancakes/
I baked some lemon and poppyseed cupcakes last year. You see them here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2020/02/imbolg-2020.html
In the Growing Up Herbal Imbolc post, Meagan mentions the site Gather Victoria as a good source for foods to celebrate traditional festivals and holidays (No. 3. Eat Symbolic Foods). Check out the post for a few recipes, and find more here: https://gathervictoria.com/tag/imbolc/
Also, if you can't/don't have dairy, you can find plenty of alternative menu ideas in this Witchcrafted Life post: https://witchcraftedlife.com/dairy-alternatives-for-imbolc-plus-imbolc-menu-ideas/
I also like to have lemonade with my pancakes and sometimes make a milk drink in the evening. Some years I make spicy hot milk, based on a recipe from The Kitchen Witch by Soraya that I originally made for Yule in 2015.
I've been making hot chocolate quite a few times this winter. My favourite is this French hot chocolate from Well Plated: https://www.wellplated.com/french-hot-chocolate/
You can see a picture of mine from April 2019 here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/04/april-update-beltane-inspiration.html
Check out this post for more winter drink ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/01/winter-drinks.html
I also light a candle (white or cream) for Imbolg since it's a fire festival and the light is growing stronger.
I'm planning to go to the beach around Imbolg too and take some sunset pictures. That's something I like to do for sabbats, although not so much during winter! I go to either the beach or the country. It will be cold but it's good to get some fresh air.
I think getting out and going somewhere in nature is a good thing to do (lockdown restrictions/weather permitting!). If you go to the park or the countryside you can look for signs of spring. Currently in England we're allowed to go out for exercise, although we're in our 3rd lockdown. Most of the UK has similar ones.
I hope that gave you some ideas for celebrating! :) I will do a post about my Imbolg next week. How do you normally celebrate? Happy Imbolg! (Or Lammas!) :)
Photo: Moonsparkle. 2021.