Pronounced im-ulk (at least that’s how it’s pronounced here), this is the day that we celebrate the sun’s strengthening and the coming of spring. It comes between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.  We celebrate this day with many sun or light themed traditions like, making beeswax candles, making a “sun” soup with braided herb bread for supper, bonfire… I took many pictures. You may want to click on any to make them bigger or see more.

There couldn’t have been a better day to honour this time of year. I woke to a bright blue sky day, which we haven’t actually had for many weeks (months?). Anyone following my photos on flickr would have probably noticed I’ve been in a funk lately. It’s been so grey and dreary but it was finally easy to see the spring coming with the wonderful weather today.

Eating lunch together

This morning we went to Kloiya Bay to explore and enjoy a bonfire. Lily helped light the fire and Leif made sure to keep stoking it (in case it went out). We saw river otters, bald eagles and even a wolf. With predators and scavengers around, it’s no wonder that we also found bones from different animals like moose as well. Many hunters dump unwanted carcasses along the road down to this beautiful spot.

Getting the fire started

Kloiya BayFire wont go without a pokeIslandWet Deeg

WolfTorchMoose jaw on the beach

We came home for lunch and dipped beeswax candles. I practically killed by hand trying to chop up the big brick of beeswax I had. I had the best success heating my cleaver under very hot water, wiping off the water and rocking my weight back and forth on the knife. We put the chunks of beeswax to melt in an old tall tomato juice can in a pot with water. Perhaps the can could have gone on the element directly but just in case I used the pot. Once it was melted we took the wicks that we cut double the height of the can and dipped them in to make two candles on either end of the wick. Occasionally I’d cut off the dripped “nipple” at the bottom of the candles between dippings. Many many MANY dippings later they were done.

Making Beeswax Candles

First dippingA few dippings laterCandles almost doneCandles almost done

For supper we made braided herb bread and “sun” soup. This bread was easy to make and so delicious. I could tell I’d love it before it was baked with the wonderful garlic and herb scent. Recipes here!

Imbolc Supper

If you don’t already and would like to celebrate Imbolc this year too, don’t think you missed your chance. This holiday isn’t tied to one day or even to specific traditions. Originally it would have been celebrated when sheep started to lactate in preparation for their lambs to be born. This time of year is acknowledged in different ways and by different religions. Many people know this time of year as being Groundhog’s day.

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17 Responses to Imbolc

  1. tai says:

    Thanks for sharing this Annie- I love the tradition. A lovely non-christian festival that I could comfortably incorporate into our family’s traditions! Do you have the book “Circle Round”? I think it has a Imbolc chapter. Beautiful photos too. That first one of Lily and Leif in front of the window is stunning. I realize that it was so socked in when we were there that we never saw your view!

  2. Annie says:

    Yes, this is exactly where I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration! I meant to write about this book during winter solstice but just haven’t got around to it!

    (I was just commenting on your blog… we’re on the same wave length!)

  3. Earth Mama says:

    Thank you for posting on Imbolc. I loved reading about your special ways od celebrating such a fun time of year. I also LOVE your candles!!

  4. debbie says:

    oh that first picture is so beautiful! your whole day sounds like a perfect way to welcome the early spring sun…we are hoping to decorate beeswax candles today (some year maybe we’ll make them!) and make something with seeds…then again, we may just celebrate all week, as it sometimes takes us a while…!

    i keep meaning to find Circle Round – we have Celebrating the Great Mother, which i really enjoy.

  5. debbie says:

    and i am stunned that you saw a wolf! must be hungry season around there? or is that common to see? what an experience your family is having…

  6. Wow, what a beautiful celebration! I love the photos of Lily and Leif at their mini table under the huge window. It’s so nice that the sun came out so that the view could be enjoyed!

    Your candles look amazing too. I’ve never seen bulk wax in rounds but I know wrapping the bricks up in a plastic bag and taking some swipes at it with a sledge hammer can work. That does mean going outside though. You would probably need more wax but olive oil canisters work well for dipping too.

    Thanks for sharing your celebration – I’m really impressed by all that you did.

  7. Carrie says:

    I know what you mean about the sun. It’s been that way here too (and same with photos).
    Your candle making looks like a lot of fun. I love dipping candles.

  8. Ella says:

    i have never heard of this celebration but i’m adding it to the list. thanks for the inspiring ideas.

  9. Sarah says:

    How wonderful Annie, it looks like you had a wonderful day. I can’t believe you managed to do so much!..very impressive. And your photos are stunning (as usual).

    We’ve been thinking about Imbolc here too. Unfortunately it was a very dreary and wet day, but even so there is a definite sense of the light returning and Spring being around the corner. Our snowdrops are flowering too ;)

    Your lovely package came today, all the way across the ocean. We were so happy and grateful to receive it, thank you so much.

    S x

  10. gardenmama says:

    i love your first photo so very much!
    it sounds and looks like you enjoyed a gorgeous day, we actually felt the sun today a first in such a long time!

  11. hillary says:

    Beautiful pictures! So glad you had such a lovely Imbolc and I’m so happy to come across your blog!

    Just beautiful!

  12. natalie says:

    So glad the sky cleared up for your celebration. Is that Mount Hayes in your first gorgeous photo? I have fond memories of exploring it on our first Christmas in Rupert, it’s stunning up there!

  13. Oh my gosh that top photo is killer!!!! Stunning. Fauna even missed a breath when she saw it. Love how you spent the day. Happy Imbolc Annie!

  14. Natalie says:

    Wow, you have a beautiful view from your window. I love the candles you made. Candle making is my new favorite thing. Great Imbolc ideas!

  15. Magda says:

    Annie – so inspiring, not unlike lots of other things you guys do. :) I’m curious about the place where you do your bonfire… Is it a private property? A park..? Making bonfires is – haha (a very sad haha) – illegal where I live, except on designated paid campsites, I think. :/

  16. Kate says:

    That first photo is SO gorgeous. I’ll have to go fave it on flickr! We celebrated the coming of the light with my firstborn’s b-day yesterday. She threw a light party!

  17. Annie says:

    Thanks everyone!

    Debbie- there are many wolves here in Prince Rupert. They are all over this small island we live on and are even spotted in our neighbourhood from time to time.

    Natalie- It is Mount Hayes in the background of our living room window. It’s quite a pretty view! We live near the ferry terminal if that gives you some perspective. Do you ever come back this way?

    Magda- That land is probably crown land. There’s a heck of a lot of corwn land up here. It’s pretty much just a road off the highway down to this bay where people come to fish, kayak and such. Bonfires are no problem, especially with our constant wet weather. We have a fire pit here at our house too but we were hoping to explore a bit at this nearby bay. I imagine it’s much more populated where you live! There’s only about 13,000 people that live in our area.

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