The 2nd of February is a the festival day for Brigid (Bride, Brighid, Brigit), a Celtic Goddess who become a Christian saint. Her day was originally the 1st of February and is was called Imbolc which is a reference to lactating milk of ewes. This is the starting point of life flowing back into everything and is seen as the first day of spring. Catholic Church made the 2nd of February Candlemas, a day of worship of the Virgin Mary and this was done through a candlelit procession. Therefore Brigid the light-bearer has translated from Paganism into Christianity. However, anyone that lives in the British Isles will find February one of the hardest months. In Scotland February is part of a time known as Faoilleach, the Wolf-month; it was also known as a’ marbh mhiòs, the Dead-month. However, if you look closely enough then you will see the signs of Spring appearing, lambs are born at this time and rains bring the first sight of lush green grass, ravens start building their nest and birdsong becomes more audible. Ireland start preparing their lands for the new seed, calves are born and fisherman watch the last of the freezing storms in contained joy at the prospect of returning to the sea to fish. In Scotland the old woman of Winter, Cailleach, is reborn as Brigid, the young maiden of Spring, frail but growing stronger every day with the revitalising rays of the sun. One of the most popular images of Brigid in John Duncan painting The Coming of Bride. This shows Brigid as an innocent golden-haired girl surrounded by children. (Here is a link to see the picture http://www.illusionsgallery.com/bride2.html) However I prefer Alexander Carmichael view of:
Bride with her white wand is said to breathe life into the mouth of the dead Winter and to bring him to open his eyes to the tears and the smiles, the sighs and the laughter of Spring. The venom of the cold is said to tremble for its safety on Bride’s Day, and to flee for its life on Patrick’s Day.