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An ancient Celtic feast, usually held on February 1, marked by acts of divination and rites of purification.

[Old Irish : imm, imb-, about, mutually; see ambhi in Indo-European roots + perhaps bolg, bag, sack (a bag symbolizing plenty perhaps having played a role in the festival); see bhelgh- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈɪmbəlk; ˈɪmbəʊlk; ˈɪmməlk) or


(Other Non-Christian Religions) an ancient Celtic festival associated with the goddess Brigit, held on Feb 1 or 2 to mark the beginning of spring. It is also celebrated by modern pagans
[C15: from Old Irish oimelc ewe's milk]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in periodicals archive ?
The pagan form was celebrated at the festival of Imbolc, on February 1st when ewes came into milk.
Imbolc, one of the oldest traditions celebrated by pagans, is celebrated to mark the end of dark, gloomy winter, and the beginning of a new spring.
Traditionally, Slaithwaite Moonraking falls on every odd year, while Imbolc Fire Festival falls on even years, so planning has now started for a "restructured" and "more sustainable" 2021 event.
The Southern Illinois Pagan Alliance will present Imbolc, its first public ritual of 2018, Saturday, Feb.
SINGER Brian Kennedy is to join the line-up for the first ever Imbolc Festival next month.
| Conway 50+ Group celebrates National Storytelling Week with stories about the Celtic early spring celebration of Imbolc. Presented by Cath Little, today, Wednesday, at 10.30am at the Conway Church Hall, Romilly Crescent, Cardiff.
The ancient Celts celebrated spring at Imbolc, a festival for the goddess Brighid.
Spring forward THIS weekend celebrates Imbolc, Candlemas or Brigid's Day and traditionally welcomes the first signs of spring.
These eight high days are known as Samhain (October 31st), Yule/Winter Solstice (December 21st), Imbolc (February 2nd), Ostara (March 21st), Beltane (May 1st), Midsummer/Summer Solstice (June 21st), Lughnassadh (August 1st), and Mabon (September 21st).
By the Celtic way of reckoning, the early February cross-quarter day, Imbolc, marks the beginning of spring.
These include Imbolc - otherwise known as the festival of the lactating sheep - when pagans build piles of stones (so that's why lags break rocks in the local quarry) and the Summer Solstice, where pagans dance naked and drink mead.