1. Sheep and goats begin lactating, in preparation for having babies. Imbolc is also called "Oimelc" which means roughly, in Old Celtic, "Ewe's Milk." For us, our goats are in the process of kidding now, which is just another reaffirmation that spring is on its way. :) In fact 2 more goat kids were born last night.
2. The days are growing lighter. Brigit, the goddess/saint honored on this day, is the representation of light-in-darkness... the hidden spring that waits under a blanket of snow to be revealed when the snow melts. Today marks the end of winter darkness and the slow unfolding of the sun. Traditionally a candle is given away representing the passing of the need to carry a candle while doing morning work. Unfortunately, I still need a flashlight to do morning and night chores...
3. "Groundhog's Day" (which was never originally a groundhog). In Scottish tradition, it was a serpent who was said to emerge from its hibernation underneath the hill, and if it stayed outside and became active, an early thaw was predicted. If it went back into its hole, winter would stay another month. The serpent is a divine animal, able to sense the future. An invocation (from the Carmina Gadelica) goes...
Moch maduinne Brhride (On Brede's morn the serpent)
Thig an nimhir as an toll. (Will come out of the hole)
Cha bhean mise ris an nimhir, (I will not harm the serpent)
Cha bhean an nimhir rium. (Nor will the serpent harm me)
...Which, to me, makes a lot more sense than a groundhog being scared of its shadow.