Everyone has something that they think important, that they are almost dogmatic about. My issue happens to be the astronomically based holidays. Yesterday, most Pagan folk celebrated Imbolc, however, today is the actual halfway point between the first day of winter, and the first of spring (at 11:45am est, if you really want to be dogmatic about it.) Not being Wiccan, nor Druid, nor Celtic of any type, Imbolc doesn't work for me. For similar reasons, neither does the idea of celebrating Candlemas or the Feast of Bridget. Instead, I will celebrate the Feast of the New Year of Asherah.
Next week, on the Jewish calendar is Tu B'shvat, the New Year of the Trees. Tu B'shvat means nothing more than the 15th of Shevat, which is the Full Moon. But the New Year of the Trees was moved to that date by Rabbi Hillel, during the Roman era. Previously, it had been celebrated at the New Moon. The association between Asherah and trees has always been close and the New Year of the Trees was an ancient holiday by the time it was first mentioned in the Mishnah. In the Near East (ancient and modern) the trees are just beginning to flower. Here in the NE United States, the sap is just beginning to run (maple syrup, anyone?). The connection between dairy (Imbolc/Ewes Milk? as I have read) is not far-fetched, either. The Great Mother Goddess feeds her children, how?
We are half-way to Spring. Right now, looking out the window, I see a curtain of snow falling (covering the layer of ice that was laid down last week). But the sap has begun to rise, and the snow will melt. Babies will be born (admittedly and thankfully, not in this house!). Today, I made my seed list for my gardens, later I will place the orders. I baked a cheesecake, so that we might celebrate now. Spring is not yet here, but it will come.