Along with seven created beingsI was placed
In a fire of purification.
I was myself gleaming fire,
When I was first given life...
-- The Black Book of Caemarthen, Taliesin
It is a custom to clean the house before Imbolc in preparation for the coming of Brighid, who is also goddess of hearth and home. Bridget's crosses and 'brideogs' ('brijog)', a corn dolly to represent Brighid, are traditional Imbolc crafts. The brideog is usually placed on a 'leaba brid' ('lawa bree'), or the bed of Brighid, and placed in the bed with the brideog is a phallic wand called the 'slatag brid' ('slatag bree'). Butter, milk and a lit candle is placed on the window sill on the eve of Imbolc to welcome Brighid as she walks the earth during the night. A piece of cloth is placed upon a shrub for Brighid to bless as she passes by. The cloth, called 'brat brid' ('brat bree') is imbued with powers of protection and healing thereafter, and is sometimes cut to smaller pieces and sewn to garments, blankets or pillows.
Candlemas is a related yet different festival although some Wiccans today use the term interchangeably with Imbolc. It is a Christian feast to honor the presentation of Jesus at the temple. This occasion actually consists of three important events for the Christian belief:
- An ancient Judaic ritual for the child Jesus called "Pidyon Ha-ben", whereby the first born male is redeemed from the Priest by the father of the child, in exchange for a small amount of coins. This is still being practiced today by the Jewish religion.
- A ceremonial purification of Mary, mother of Jesus. In ancient Judea, a woman is considered impure after giving birth and must undergo a ritual of purification 40 days after giving birth to a male child, and 60 days to a female child.
- The declaration of Jesus as the light and redeemer of the world by the prophet Simeon.
The ancient Roman festival of Februatio is also a ritual of purification that happens around this time. 'Februa' is an instrument or offering for atonement or purification, and it is in fact where the month of February gets its name from. It is also more commonly known as Lupercalia, and is also a fertility festival from which the modern Valentine's Day is said to be derived. Followers of Stregheria, or Italian witchcraft, still celebrate the feast of Lupercalia.
There are many other celebrations around the world that parallel the Wiccan festival of Imbolc, like the Aztec and the Chinese New Year, but the ones mentioned here are what I consider to be its closest relatives.
 The other three being Samhain, Beltaine, and Lughnasadh.
 Hence its association with Groundhog Day, celebrated in North America on February 2.
 Also called Snowdrop, a pretty little white flower
 "Brighid", by Miranda Gray
 Pope John Paul II himself also crowned the image of Our Lady of Candelaria in the Cathedral of Jaro.
 Thanks to my Lucumi friends I'm finally getting the grasp of New World religions and their relation to Old World Paganism.
[a] Imbolc and the Goddess, by Tira Brandon-Evans
[b] ADF Imbolc Traditions