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David Livingstone, the first European to see it, renamed the Mosi-oa-Tunya waterfall the Victoria Falls in honor of Queen Victoria (read more)

Featured Article: Imbolc

Imbolc or Imbolg (pronounced i-MOLK or i-MOLG), also called Saint Brighid’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Bríde, Scottish Gaelic: Là Fhèill Brìghde, Manx: Laa’l Breeshey), is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is held on January 31 – February 1, or halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain. It was observed in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Kindred festivals were held at the same time of year in other Celtic lands; for example the Welsh Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau. The holiday is a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Rituals involve hearthfires, special foods, weather divination, candles, and an outdoor bonfire if the weather permits.

Imbolc is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and it is associated with important events in Irish mythology. It has been suggested that it was originally a pagan festival associated with the goddess Brighid and that it was Christianized as a festival of Saint Brighid, who herself is thought to be a Christianization of the goddess. At Imbolc, Brighid's crosses were made and a doll-like figure of Brighid, called a Brídeóg, would be carried from house-to-house. Brighid was said to visit one's home at Imbolc. To receive her blessings, people would make a bed for Brighid and leave her food and drink, while items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless. Brighid was also invoked to protect livestock. Holy wells were visited and it was also a time for divination.

In Christianity, February 1st is observed as the feast day of Saint Brighid, especially in Ireland. There, some of the old customs have survived and it is celebrated as a cultural event. Since the twentieth century, Celtic neopagans and Wiccans have observed Imbolc, or something based on Imbolc, as a religious holiday.

Popular Article: Love

The Kiss by Francesco Hayez, 1859
Popularly, Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection or profound oneness. Depending on context, love can have a wide variety of intended meanings, including sexual attraction. Psychologists and religious teachings, however, define love more precisely, as living for the sake of another, motivated by heart-felt feelings of caring, affection, and responsibility for the other's well-being.

The ancient Greeks described love with a number of different words: Eros was impassioned, romantic attraction; philia was friendship; xenia was kindness to the guest or stranger. Agape love, which the Greeks defined as unconditional giving, became the keystone of Christianity, where it is exemplified in Christ's sacrificial love on the cross. Some notion of transcendental love is a salient feature of all the world's faiths. "Compassion" (karuna) in Buddhism is similar to agape love; it is represented by the bodhisattva, who vows not to enter Nirvana until he has saved all beings. Yet love encompasses all these dimensions, eros as well as agape.

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