Celebrating Imbolc: Midpoint between winter and spring solstices
BELFAST — On February 1, The owners of the “witchy” oddities shop Alder & Vine will team up with the restaurant Ondine Oyster & Wine Bar for a special “Sonic Supper” to celebrate the night that lies between winter and spring solstices known as Imbolc Sabbat —a wiccan/pagan holiday.
Imbolc, in Irish Gaelic, is called “Oimelc,” which means “ewe’s milk.” It’s a time when agricultural societies anticipated spring lambing and were looking forward to the planting season.
Heather Q. co-owner of Alder & Vine said: “We’ve been celebrating these solstice events at our farm for the last few years, but this is the first event we’re doing by pairing up with a restaurant, where my husband Jason is one of the chefs. It’s a way to celebrate ‘coming into the light’ with candles and fire.”
There are multiple interpretations of Imbolc.
“This particular holiday was actually the foundation for Groundhog’s Day, but in Celtic tradition, a crone makes an appearance instead of a groundhog,” she said. “The crone would come out of her cave on the first of February and if it was a nice day, she’d be able to gather dry wood to keep her heath going until spring. If it was raining or snowing and the wood was wet, and she would not have enough firewood to get through the winter, so she would allow spring to come early.”
According to legend, the crone would be reborn in the spring as the Irish Goddess Brigihid whose name means “the bright one.”
Brigihid is considered in Irish lore to be the “keeper of the sacred flame” and the guardian of hearth and home.
Chefs Evan Mallett of Ondine and Jason Hay of Alder & Vine will create a special menu for the event.
“We’re offering it either as a full course menu or you can just order special plates,” said Heather Q. “Keeping with the traditions of Imbolc, we’ll be celebrating local, seasonal food,” she said. “The menu is going to feature of root vegetables, seeds along with dishes made from sheep’s milk and lamb.
Alder & Vine, the subject of our story, Spells, skulls, seances rule this tiny Belfast shop, will also bring their particular otherworldly brand into the mix with music from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. by osmia and The Orchardist. Patrons are encouraged to bring their crystals and arrange them around the musicians to be cleansed and charged by the sonic waves. There will also be tarot readings by crssy puccire available throughout the evening: $20 for a 15-minute-reading.
The dinner event can seat 40 people but tables are filling fast. Reserve a table for a seated dinner or walk-in for drinks and small plates at the bar.
For more information visit: alderandvine.farm/
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com