Imbolc is my favorite Sabbat. I adore it. I love the time of year–the harshest month of winter begins just as the season itself fades under the lengthening sunlight. Texas maybe gets its one day of snow a year. Then the air begins to warm, and it’s time to plant tomatoes again.
Incorporating food into my Sabbat work and ritual is important to me. It’s also important that the food be seasonal and fresh. If it’s straight from the garden, all the better. For those of us in Zone 8 that generally means no tomatoes at Yule and no green peas at Lughnasadh.
Now is the end of the citrus season. Grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, clementines can all be used to symbolize the returning sun or just enjoyed because of the fresh zip they add to food. It’s a good time to make marmalade, especially when all of the oranges and grapefruits go on sale.
My own UPG is that cultured foods are appropriate for Imbolc. In colder climates the winter stores would be nearing their end, and much of the wine, ale, fruits and vegetables that were either cultured or stored would be fermenting. Cheese, kefir, yogurt, curds and especially butter could/would be made of the milk arriving from the newly lactating sheep, goats and cows.
In my garden right now (Central Texas, Zone 8) there is an abundance of broccoli, cauliflower, collards, cabbage, green onions, snap and sweet peas, kale, turnips, lettuce and carrots. The herbs are doing well thanks to a very mild winter. I have bushes of cilantro, parsley, dill, spearmint, lemon balm, chives, oregano and rosemary. The calendula and chamomile look to be about ready to flower. Pansies, stalwart sentinels of winter that they are, are still going strong.
For our Imbolc meal this year I’m making braised lamb, a garden salad and roasted carrots. We’ll drink wine, eat almond-honey cakes and toast to the coming spring.
Happy Imbolc/Candlemas, everyone!