It’s Lughnasadh!

    “Lughnasadh marked the beginning of the harvest season, the Harvest of Grain (Bread), the ripening of first fruits (usually berries), and was traditionally a time of community gatherings, market festivals, horse races and reunions with distant family and friends. Among the Irish it was a favored time for handfastings — trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or later formalizing it as a more permanent marriage.  In Celtic mythology, the Lughnasadh festival is said to have been begun by the god Lugh, as a funeral feast and games commemorating his foster-mother, Tailtiu, who died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. The first location of the Áenach Tailteann gathering was at Telltown, located between Navan and Kells. Historically, the Áenach Tailteann was a time for contests of strength and skill, and a favored time for contracting marriages and winter lodgings. A peace was declared at the festival, and religious celebrations were also held. The festival survived as the Taillten Fair, and was revived for a period in the twentieth centry as the Telltown Games.” (via Wikipedia)

     Lughnasadh (say it loo-ness-ah) is one of the eight big holidays we celebrate on the wheel of the year.  It’s the first of the three autumn festivals, and opposite Imbolc which occurs on February 2nd.   Imbolc is also known as Brigid’s Day.  We celebrate the beginnings of spring and preparing growing things for planting on Brigid’s Day, and here on Lughnasadh we remember that summer is starting to come to a close, and we harvest those things that just a few months ago were tiny green shoots.  Some pagans call Lughnasadh “Lammas” — if you see it differently that’s why.  We choose to use the longer and unspellable version because DH affiliates himself with Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) an international fellowship devoted to creating a public tradition of Neopagan Druidry.  Its important for him to recognize Lugh in the day.  ADF is celebrating their 26th anniversary this year!

     So what does celebrating today entail?  That’s a personal choice.  Today the husband is celebrating with his fellow druids, and I’m sure it will involve a bonfire and alcohol.  A few ideas that we’ve done in the past and may do today include:

  • Decorate your home and /or alter with the colors of yellow, orange and green. Use bunches of herbs, grains, ears of corn and small baskets of fruit and vegetables to add to your décor.  We have some dried ears of corn leftover from planting this past spring that will go on our family altar.
  • Make freshly baked bread made with fresh herbs. The kids can help with this, and it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can add fresh herbs to frozen bread dough (after it thaws, of course!) Basil, oregano and dill are good choices.
  • Take the kids on a nature walk and point out how the plants have matured and changed over the summer months.
  • Have a feast or picnic with family and friends.
  • Enjoy the last few days of summer!  Stay up late tonight and catch fireflies! (My littles still call them fairies 😉 )
  • Since this is a harvest festival, collect food to donate to a food bank so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of a “harvest”.
  •      We will go out into the garden today, pull the plants that have gone by (cucumbers, tomatoes, squash) and retill the ground for our second planting.  The summers are long enough here in Virginia that I can get a second crop harvested before frost.  Soon I’ll plant carrots, peas and beans, lettuce, radishes, and the like.

         The wheel of the year keeps on turning….

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