03 February 2011


Yesterday, dear people, was St Brigid's Day. Also Groundhog Day, Imbolc, and Candlemas, which, I think, really all amount to the same thing: they're the half-way point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.

Groundhog Day is when the groundhog comes out of his hole, does a tap dance on Bill Murray's head, and if he (the groundhog, not Bill Murray) goes back into his hole we'll know that "Groundhog Day" will still be available in video stores at the end of this year. Imbolc is a heathen festival invented by the Celts, and I'm sure it had something to do with fertility (those heathen festivals usually do). Nowadays we shun said heathen customs on account of their irreligiousness (Easter eggs, anyone?). Candlemas is a much more religious holiday, where, umm- I'm not sure. But I do know that it had something to do with lights, and candles, and that it was the day when European farmers made or renewed contracts with their labourers, way back in half-past-celtic times. And St Brigid's- well, St Brigid (the Irish one, not the Swedish one- the latter has a "d" in her name, supposedly) was the counterpart to St Patrick. I thought I'd read somewhere that they were actually close companions and friends, sort of like Saints Francis and Claire, but I guess I got that wrong. She started a couple of convents, a men's and a women's one, in Kildare, Ireland, and was- get this- an actual bishop. I guess they were a little more open-minded in the 6th century. And then, Wikipedia says, "[w]hen dying, Brigid was attended by Saint Ninnidh, who was afterwards known as 'Ninnidh of the Clean Hand' because he had his right hand encased with a metal covering to prevent it ever being defiled, after being the medium of administering the last rites to 'Ireland's Patroness'." Now I'm wondering where the term "ninny" comes from.

I like feast days, don't you? I think we don't celebrate nearly enough in this day and age. So I don't rightly care what yesterday was called, or what you did to keep it, or even if the feast day was exactly yesterday (some say St Brigid's is actually on Feb. 1st, not 2nd. Whatever.). Pull up a holiday, and celebrate it.

Life, the Universe, and Groundhog Day. Happy Celebrating!

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