I have a question, one that has perplexed me for several years. 

Tomorrow is the first day of February, marking the festival of Imbolc. The days are lengthening, the night time grows shorter. We're halfway through winter. Or are we?

I know that 21st of December is supposed to be the first day of winter, but this makes absolutely no sense to me. If we look at the year as half of it where the nights are longer than the days and half of it when the days are longer than the nights, then surely, the date that the nights get shorter can't be the mid point? 

If we look at the old names for the winter and summer solstices, they're even called 'midwinter' and 'midsummer!' So, how can the middle of something—midwinter—be the first day of it?! I'm struggling to wrap my head around that. 

So, to me, Imbolc is—or should be—the beginning of spring. When I lived on the farm it was the time when we prepared for the coming season. Snowdrops and other early flowers were often blooming. Even when I delved a bit deeper into the meaning of Imbolc, 'the beginning of spring' kept being mentioned. 

Why then, do we say that 21st of March is the beginning of spring, not the middle? I get that's the date (approximately of course) when the Sun leaves Pisces and enters into Aries, and another trip around the zodiac, and I'm sure that there's some significance in that (I mean, as an astrologer I understand it, but as far as the seasons go it's still puzzling). Why is 'midsummer' not the middle of the summer, as the name implies, but rather considered to be the first day of summer?

It simply not adding up to me... but what do I know. I'm just an old hippie!