Lughnasadh

Happy Lughnasadh, everybody! Lughnasadh falls c. August 1 in the Northern Hemisphere and c. February 1 in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also known as Lammas.

This is a harvest festival in Gaelic culture. In Irish mythology, this festival is said to have been begun by the god Lugh (who the festival is named after). It begun as a funeral feast and sporting competition in commemoration of his foster mother, Tailtiu. Tailtiu died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture.

As the autumn begins, the Celtic Sun God enters old age, but is not yet dead. He symbolically loses some of his strength as the sun rises farther in the South; each day grows shorter and each night grows longer.

There are some historical customs for this holiday. Celebrations were commonly held on the hilltops. People would also gather bilberries. Since this is sabbat, it was common for there to be bonfires for this holiday. The ashes from the bonfires were used to bless fields, cattle and people. People would also visit holy wells. Visitors to these wells would pray for health while walking clockwise (in the Northern Hemisphere) around the well. They would then leave offerings. Typical offerings included: coins or clooties (a strip or piece of cloth, a rag or item of clothing). In Gaelic Ireland, this was also a favored time for handfastings.

Some people in modern times have come to celebrate this holiday. A common custom is baking loaf of bread for today. Neopaganism has brought this holiday back, but it varies widely in how and when it is celebrated. This is in the Wiccan Wheel of the Year as one of the eight sabbats. It’s the first of three autumn harvest festivals, the other two being Mabon (Autumn Equinox) and Samhain. Celtic Reconstructionism emphasizes historical accuracy in celebrating this holiday.

Enjoy this time. Happy Lughnasadh/Lammas! Blessed be!

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Posted on August 1, 2012, in Holidays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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