Imbolc is a Celtic holiday adopted by most neo-pagan and Wiccan traditions. The holiday celebrates the beginning of Brighid's reign over the light half of the year and also the first day of spring. Hekate, who reigns over the dark half of the year, handed her torch over to Brighid sometime in the last few hours of January, and she will carry the torch for the next six months. Brighid is an Irish goddess of Fire, smiths, creativity, the arts, healing, children, and midwifery. Imbolc is the perfect day to plant the first seeds of spring (for most of us that means indoors or green house), paint, draw, write poetry, practice candle magick, etc. It's also a good time to incorporate dairy into your work and I highly suggest an offering of milk and honey for the faerie folk.
Candlemas on the other hand takes place on the 2nd, and is dedicated to the Most Holy Virgin Mary, as it celebrates both the day she was sent to the temple and also the day on which she would have been considered pure again by Jewish law after giving birth to her son Jesus. Its also St. Brigid's feast day, which was moved to the second from the pagan feast day on the 1st, to more easily convert the people who refused to give up their beloved goddess. Traditionally on Candlemas all the candles in the home would be lit and the females of the home would be honored. It's a powerful day for all rites of female empowerment and recognitions of the feminine divine in each of us.
In the USA it's also Groundhog's day. Basically if the groundhog comes out of his hole and sees his shadow there's six more months of winter, if he doesn't, it's officially spring. In pennsylvania it's still in for 6 more months of winter, but in at least 6 other states it's spring! This ritual reflects an old celtic rite in which the same observation was made of hedgehogs on this day as they were sacred to Brighid.
Personally I've spent the past few days painting and drawing and tonight I will perform a few candle magicks as well as plant Cat Grass for my kittens. I'll also spend a good chunk of the night in prayer and meditation, including the pagan rosary I wrote some time ago.
And tomorrow will officially kick off my spring cleaning and I will be writing my weekly post for the Pagan Blog Project on Cleaning-- focusing mostly on spring cleaning and spiritual cleaning.