THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2: If contemporary Pagans argue that Groundhog Day originated with the ancient pagans, it’s because today’s festival of Imbolc marks the beginning of spring—and has been tied with legends of prognostic serpents and badgers for centuries.
Halfway between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, Pagans and Wiccans commemorate an Irish festival that was widely observed during the Middle Ages. Imbolc is a time to search for signs of spring, which may include animals emerging from their places of hibernation and domestic animals beginning to lactate for their coming spring births. It’s a time to gather firewood for bonfire celebrations. Bonfires have long been associated with Imbolc for their purification symbolism. Wikipedia has details.
Even non-Pagans can appreciate the coming of spring today, by welcoming it with rituals such as the blessing of seeds to soon be planted. (Wicca.com has more.) Foods of Imbolc include pumpkin and sunflower seeds, poppyseed muffins, breads, dairy products and spiced drinks.