Imbolc ("IM-bulk") is an ancient festival generally celebrated on January 31, February 1, or February 2. It is also known as Candlemas, Brighid ("breed"), and Oimelc ("EE-mulk") which means ewe's milk. Imbolc is a Greater Sabbat in the Wiccan year.
The celebration signals the middle of the season of long nights and anticipates the upcoming season of light. Celebrants make Corn Maidens from corn and wheat. The Maidens are dressed up and placed in a cradle known as a "Bride's Bed". A wand, usually tipped with an acorn or other large seed, is placed in the bed with the Maiden. The Maidens are generally kept year round as a symbol of fertility.
Other interrelated interpretations of the festival center around the Irish Goddess Brighid, known for her healing, smithcraft, and poetry gifts. Additional interpretations revolve around the birth of lambs and the lactation of the ewes. Still others celebrate Imbolc as the recovery of the Earth Goddess after giving birth to the Sun God.