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January to March

From Nollaig na mBan – Women’s Christmas – on 6th January to Mother's Day the end of March.

Celebrations include Burns Night in Scotland, St. Brigids' Eve with it's many traditions and customs and an explanation of the mysterious and dangerous Ides of March.

More information by Anne on the traditions surrounding Imbolc can be found at Bridget's Eve and Day - Her Life, Wells and Customs

New Year's Traditions

The days between Solstice and the New Year are a magical period when anything is possible.

When is Twelfth Night?

There is the debate... 6th January is also Epiphany, Oiche Nollaig na Mban and La Bafana... links are in the article

6th January - Oiche Nollaig na Mban

Nollaig na mBan Sona Daoibh – Happy Women’s Christmas to you all.

6th January - the Feast of the Epiphany

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, three gifts with a spiritual meaning

6th January - La Befana and Twelfth Night

La Befana is known as a wise and magical woman.

7th January - Plough Monday

This is the traditional start of the English agricultural year

11th January - Burning the Clavie

Burghead decided to celebrate New Year’s on both the 1st and the 11th of January, getting the best of both worlds.

13th January - Saint Knut's Day

On the twentieth day Christmas is driven out! It is also customary to knock on the walls to scare out any Jultomten - Christmas goats - who are hiding in the house!

15th January - St Ita’s day

The foster mother of the saints of Erin

19th January - Popcorn Day

Do you know that Popcorn can ‘jump’up to 3 feet in the air? Ceremonial uses in North America and a Swedish Chef

25th January - Burns Night

The haggis is traditionally served with mashed potatoes (tatties) and mashed turnips (neeps).

25th January - St Dwynwen’s Day

Celebrate the Welsh St. Valentine on 25th January

27th January - Feast of Lí Ban, the Irish Mermaid Saint

Eochaidh’s palace and lands were flooded, drowning all who lived there and forming the great body of water we know today as Lough Neagh. Only Lí Ban survived, along with her dog, in an underwater chamber in the lake for a year.

28th January - Up Helly Aa - lightening of the year

The biggest secret of all is what the head of the festival, the 'Guizer Jarl', will wear and which character from the Norse Sagas he'll represent.

29th January - St Bláth or Bláthnaid of Kildare

It is said that, under the care of St. Bláth, the bread and bacon at St. Brigid's table were better than a banquet elsewhere.

31st January - Bridget’s Eve - Brat Bríd

It’s Bridget’s Eve so remember to leave out your Brat Bríd (a strip of cloth/ribbon/scarf/ handkerchief) tonight. Read more here.....

Chinese New Year - Lunar New Year - Spring Festival

Porridge should not be eaten, because it is considered that only poor people have porridge for breakfast, and people don't want to start the year "poor" as this is a bad omen.

Thorrablot

Thorrablot takes place in the coldest dark days of the year, and it's interesting to keep in mind that many of the foods served are actually the smoked/pickled produce of the previous year.

First Lunar Month - Losar Tibetan Festival

With roots in pre-Buddhist Bon religion, every winter spirits and deities were given offerings, later becoming a farmers’ festival during the blossoming of the apricot trees.

Pancake Tuesday and Ash Wednesday - the start of Lent

Ash Wednesday is exactly 46 days before Easter Sunday - 26th February 2020 - the connection between pancakes and Shrove Tuesday dates back to when fasting in Lent was strictly observed.

1st February - St. Seiriol

Saint Cybi would walk from Holyhead, facing the rising sun in the morning and setting sun in the evening.

2nd February- Candlemas

The festival is called Candlemas because this was the day that all the Church's candles for the year were blessed.

3rd February - Feast of St Blaise

The day to head to church to have your throat blessed

11th February - Feast of St. Gobnait

A saint of bees, nine deer and a healing ribbon

14th February - St. Valentine's Day

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentines didn’t begin to appear until after 1400.

29th February - Leap Year Day

In Ireland, there is an old Irish legend, that St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every four years.

First Full Moon of March - Holi

Holi is popularly known as the Indian "festival of spring", the "festival of colours", or the "festival of love".

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual Lenten Sacrifices and fasting of the Lenten season.

1st March - Saint David's Day

David became known as Dewi Dyfrwr (‘David the water drinker’) because of his modest monk’s diet of bread and water. Even meat and beer were forbidden.

5th March - St Piran’s day in Cornwall

St Piran miraculously floated across the water from Ireland attached to a stone, landing at Perran Beach, Perranporth

8th March - St Sennan

The legend of "St. Senanus and the Lady", as told in Tom Moore's lyric, says that no woman was allowed to enter Inis Cathaigh; not even St. Senan's sister, St. Cannera.

15th March - Ides of March

The Romans calculated the days of the month by counting back from three fixed points of the month.

17th March - St Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is Lá Fhéile Pádraig. Note that most Parades are cancelled this year due to coronavirus safety restrictions.

18th March - Sheelah's Day

One of the last places on earth to have it as a major contemporary festival is Newfoundland, Canada.

19th March - St. Joseph's Day

Joseph's staff is often portrayed with flowers as his alone bloomed, identifying him as divinely chosen

22nd March - Feast of St. Darerca

Saint Darerca is said to be the sister of St Patrick and she is the patroness of Valentia Island.

24th March - Old Feast of St Gabriel

In the apocalyptic Books of Enoch “the four great archangels” are Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel.

25th March - Latha na Cailliche

She might be a 'Gloomy Old Woman' but is respected (and feared) in legends and folklore in Scotland, Isle of Man and Ireland.

30th March - Earth Hour

Our connection to Earth and nature is undeniable:

31st March - Time to Spring forward

Time is a strange man-made thing.

31st March - Mother's Day

“I’ll to thee a Simnel bring, gainst thou go’st a'Mothering,"