Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happy Imbolc!

 Happy Imbolc!

Torta di Befana.

The word imbolg means in the belly, a reference to the pregnancy of ewes and ewes milk. The holiday is associated with the stirring of the earth, new life and fertility.  Also associated with the maiden goddess Brighid and the divine hags Cailleach (Gaelic), and Beira (Scotland). It is the day the Cailleach goes out to gather firewood for the rest of the winter.  If she intends the winter to linger, she will make sure the day is sunny, so she can gather a good supply.

Before the first rise.  Note the spring loaded tea strainer I use as a flour wand.

Ready for the oven
Activities for the day include weather forecasting, plaiting, weaving braiding and doing something with your hands.  I baked a sweet bread with fruit and nuts.  The recipe is adapted from Mary Ann Esposito's Torta di Befana (Befana Cake).  I figure Befana is an Italian hag associated with winter, why not?  I substituted orange zest for the lemon, and apricots for candied lemon peel.  

It came out pretty well, if I do say so myself

The finished product

Sunrise: 7:04 AM Sunset: 5:16 PM Day Length: 10:12
Increase in day length since the Winter Solstice: 0:57
Moon Phase: Last quarter
It's 26 degrees with light snow.

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