Lughnasadh is the beginning of the harvest season. It’s when the first grains and fruits are ready to be picked, consumed, and preserved. This usually takes place around August 1st but does vary from different regions based on culture and beliefs. In the past it was even a month long event.
This festival can be traced to Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, as well as throughout Northern Europe.
Lughnasadh is also referred to as Lammas; which means “Loaf Mass.” Which makes sense being that the grains are harvested, ground, and baked into loafs.
With this turn in seasons, it’s only natural to get together with the tribe, village, or community to celebrate. These celebrations also served as helping one another out with harvesting and preserving. After all, many hands make light work.
Along with celebration, comes spiritual beliefs. Being thankful for the land and weather for good crops, means life. Another year at surviving. Who can they thank? Their gods and goddesses of course. And along with that comes the stories told from generation to generation. Stories of might, bravery, perseverance, heroic deeds, and magic. These qualities were needed for their survival and their stories helped with instilling that in the people as well as fostering their imagination.
This time was the perfect time for gatherings, religious ceremonies, athletic contests, feasting, match making, and trading. So it was a happy time indeed.
Lughnasadh is named after the Irish sun god, Lugh and nasadh means assembly. The stories say that Lugh started this celebration in remembrance of this his foster mother, Tailtiu. Since Lugh is associated with skill in all things, the funeral games are a popular activity during this celebration. Some stories say this was started because of Lugh’s wedding also.
Who is right? Does that really matter? It’s time to get out in the warm sun and pick the fruits of your labor. It’s time to get together with the community in good companionship and help one another for the big job ahead. And why not thank momma earth, the gods, nature spirits, and the ancestors for the gifts and blessings received.
Have a picnic, feast, do some match making, start a trail marriage, do some trading for more supplies, have a wedding, and enjoy some good natured athletic contests. Soon, the dark time will be upon us once more.