Other Festival Names:Candlemas, Oimlec, Brigid’s Day, Groundhog’s Day; merged with Lupercalia/Valentines Day
Festival Dates: January 31, February 1, February 2, February 6, February 7.
Multicultural Parallels: Ground Hog’s Day (USA); Aztec New Year; Chinese New Year; Roman Lupercalia; Valentine’s Day (USA); Armenian Candlemas.
Flames: Sacred Fire
Name variations: Brighid; Bride (Scotland), Brid, Brigit, Bridget, Briganta (England), Brigan, Brigindo (Gaul), Berecyntia, Brigandu (France)
Name means Bright One ,High One, Bright Arrow, Power.
Christianized forms: St. Brigit (Irish), St. Ffraid (Welsh), St. Bridget (Swedish), Queen of Heaven, Prophetess of Christ, Mary.
Pictish Pagan Roots
Bruide, the Pictish royal throne name, is said to derived from the Pagan Goddess Brigid. The Bruide name was given to each Pagan Pictish king who was viewed as the male manifestation of the spirit of the Goddess. The most sacred place of the Picts was Abernethy in Fife. It was dedicated to Brigid, in Pagan times, and to St. Brigid, in Christian times. Columban monks tended a Celtic abbey there and hereditary abbots were of the Earl of Fife branch of the Clan MacDuff, which survived to the present day as Clan Wemyss (Weems).
Irish Transitions and Traditions
When Ireland was Christianized, veneration of the Pagan Goddess Brigid was transformed into that of St. Brigit, said to be the human daughter of a Druid. St. Brigit became a saint after her “death” and was supposedly converted and baptized by St. Patrick. Pagan lore was incorporated into the Christian traditions and legends associated with Her as a saint. For example, as St. Brigit, She had the power to appoint bishops and they had to be goldsmiths. She was associated with miracles and fertility. Into the 18th century a women’s only shrine was kept to her in Kildare (meaning Church of the Oak) in Ireland. There, nineteen nuns tended Her continually burning sacred flame. An ancient song was sung to Her: “Brigid, excellent woman, sudden flame, may the bright fiery sun take us to the lasting kingdom.” Brigid/St. Brigit was said to be the inventor of whistling and of keening.
Signs of Spring: Ground Hog’s Day
If Candlemas day be sunny and bright, Winter again will show its might.
If Candlemas day be cloudy and grey, Winter soon will pass away. (Fox version)
If Candlemas day be fair and bright, Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas day be shower and rain, Winter is gone and will not come again. (Traditional)
Spiritual Awakening: Spirit Within