bnewman: (Default)
[personal profile] bnewman
Groundhog Day, which looks towards the end of winter, is a worn-down leftover of Imbolc, the Celtic pagan festival which celebrates lambing (η: according to one [possibly incorrect — see comments] folk etymology, the name has something to do with milk), the first rising of sap in the trees, the first stirrings of life under the soil in preparation for the spring to come. Maybe that's happening where you are... or maybe you're snowed in like the Boston area. Imbolc is sacred to (and sometimes called by the name of) Brigid, Celtic goddess of the hearth, the forge, healing, and the bardic arts.

Groundhog Day is also a delightfully strange, magical realist, romantic comedy movie, in which a disgruntled weatherman somehow lives the same day over and over again, until he gets it right.

What, besides being notionally associated with the same calendar date, do these two things have in common? I'm glad you asked. Both holiday and film are ultimately about the unfreezing of what has been frozen, the stirring of life in a world — or a heart — emerging from winter's blanket of snow to turn towards the returning sun again.

Many bright blessings of the day. More songs and updates coming soon.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-02 12:59 pm (UTC)
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
From: [personal profile] madfilkentist
February 2 is too early for any rising of sap in the trees. According to this BBC article, "Imbolc rituals were performed to harness divine energy that would ensure a steady supply of food until the harvest six months later. Like many Celtic festivals, the Imbolc celebrations centred around the lighting of fires." Beacons in the darkness.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-02 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Not in Israel ( :-)


Date: 2011-02-04 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] (from
"February 2 is too early for any rising of sap in the trees."

Is it? According to this site (, maple sugaring takes place in "early spring (late February to April) while the snow is still in the woods." And that's in Vermont, where it's colder than Britain. (It is temperature, not daylight, that triggers the rising of the sap: see So couldn't the sap in Britain's oak, ash, and thorn start rising as early as February 2?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-02 01:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I like your song.

Happy groundhog day.

I am noticing that it's getting light earlier in the morning, which I find cheering.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-02 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have to say, there's no way that "Imbolc" is in any way related to "ewe-milk" in any Celtic language I've ever heard of. Nor likely in any Germanic language but modern English. That sounds like a total folk etymology to me.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-02 07:15 pm (UTC)
ext_12246: (Dr.Whomster)
From: [identity profile]
That's apparently a short-cutting of this explanation. I have no idea how accurate it is in any respect, but the OIr gloss certainly looks plausible to me. From

The name Imbolc comes from the Old Irish i mbolg, 'in the belly', apparently in reference to either pregnant ewes or milking. The oldest etymology, that of the ninth century Cormac's Glossary, derives imbolc (also oimelc) from 'the time the sheep's milk comes'. Whilst often criticised as a fanciful derivation by scholars, this has come to dominate interpretations of this festival. Within Gaelic culture the festival itself is clearly a veneration of the pre-Christian goddess Bride or Brigid and most of the recorded customs centred around this deity. Consequently, most references to this festival historically used the name of Bride or Brigid.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-02 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OIr is certainly plausible, and i mbolg would be pronounced properly and mean something relevant (I guess), but it sure wouldn't mean "ewe-milk".

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-03 04:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, it was that derivation via "oimelc" derivation I was remembering, but I don't actually know what the pieces of it were supposed to be.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-03 05:26 am (UTC)
ext_12246: (Dr.Whomster)
From: [identity profile]
Old Irish i mbolg, 'in the belly'
Edited Date: 2011-02-03 05:26 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-02 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really like that!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-02 07:05 pm (UTC)
sheistheweather: (Dark-Moon-Daughter)
From: [personal profile] sheistheweather
Blessed Imbolc.

[Edit] Imbolc, Filking and Walking In The Day.
Edited Date: 2011-02-02 07:07 pm (UTC)


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