The darkest part of the year, from Christmas until the Feast of St. Bridgit.
Note: The significance of this proverb stems from ancient Celtic mythology, which divided the year into halves, and those halves into halves . . . ad infinitum. It begins with the dark half, the Night side of the year, called Giamos in Old Celtic. This runs from Samhain to Bealtaine, from November 1 to May 1. The other half is the light or sun half, the Day side of the year, called Samos in Old Celtic. Samhain, the midpoint between the fall equinox and the winter solstice, and Imbolc, the midpoint of the winter solstice and the spring equinox, are the beginning and ending dates of the first half of the Giamos half of the year. The second half of this first half of the Giamos half of the year runs from the winter solstice to Imbolc, i.e., from about Christmas to the Feast of St. Bridgit, Febuary 1.
This eighth of the year marks the victory of Giamos over Samos, of the night over the day, of the dark over the light. However, according to the ancient Celtic Cycle, the seeds of the destruction of the Night are sown at this darkest of times. Samos is conceived and growing in the guts of Giamos. It will one day be born and vanquish the dark. This is implied in the seanfhocal with the use of the words ‘putóga dubha’, which literally means ‘dark guts.’ Some naturally believe that the word ‘Imbolc’ is related to the modern Irish ‘i mbolg’, which means in the belly. However, ‘Imbolc’ actually is derived from the Middle Irish root ‘m(b)lig’ which means ‘lactation’. Imbolc was a time to celebrate the lactation of the ewes. Lactation is a nuturing manifestation of spring, when the lambs are born. So if you are getting depressed by the cold of winter, take heart in the fact that the days are getting longer. Take a cue from the Celtic cosmos and celebrate the imminent potential of sunny, warm weather.