In Celtic times the day was considered to begin at dusk the preceding night, so all major celebrations would commence the night before the day of the festival, much as New Year festivities start on New Year’s Eve.
Also called Imbolg, Oimelc and Candlemas, this is the festival of Bride or Bridget. It celebrates the Goddess’s transformation from Crone to Maiden and heralds the coming Spring and the change from dark to light. One of the ways to celebrate this is with a Circle of lights.
The dates given for this sabbat vary. On some calendars it is given as Feb 1st and on others Feb 2nd. I think the confusion might possibly stem from this practice of commencing the celebration the night before.
Everyone gathers in a Circle, lit only by a single black candle; the wick should be trimmed to give the smallest of flames. Each person has an unlit white candle. When everyone is ready someone says:
“This is the festival of Imbolg and the first signs of returning life tell us that Spring is on its way.
Let us light the path for the new season and say farewell to the old.
They light their white candle from the black one, state something they wish for in the coming season, and extinguish the black candle. Going around the group Deosil (clockwise), each person states their own hopes and lights their candle from that of the person next to them. When all the candles are lit, everyone says together:
“We welcome the Goddess as Maiden,
We welcome the signs of new life.
We welcome the coming Spring.”
The candles can be placed somewhere safe to burn whilst everyone enjoys a feast or, if this is not a family celebration, they may be extinguished and taken home to bring Spring into everyone’s homes.
From: The Real Witches’ Year
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