Hello my lovely readers, as today is Lughnasadh, I have decided to write a bit about this first natural holiday of the harvest! There are three natural harvest holidays, the next two being the Autumnal Equinox, and then my favorite holiday, Samhain! Lughnasadh is the ancient Irish name for today’s holiday, Lammas is a newer (Christianized) name for the festival. This natural holiday has been given many names across Celtic countries, in Scotland it was referred to as Lunasda, on the Isle of Man is was called Luanistyn, and in Wales it was called Gwyl Awst. The holiday originated in Ireland as the “Feast of Lugh.” Lugh was a Celtic god and a lord of the Tuatha de Danann.
The Tuatha de Danann are a group of Irish faeries. This makes Lughnasadh a major faerie festival, historically! The festivals on this day in Celtic lands were about celebrating the abundance of a good harvest. Today is a joyful day full of faeries and positive energy! One type of faerie highly associated with this holiday is the Russian Polevik, and they are known to kick sleepy harvesters awake.
Lugh, whose name means “bright one” is often seen as the lord of the waning year. The dances danced during ancient festivals honoring him are sometimes looked at as “dances of death!” Lugh is remembered as a solar deity, as well as a harvest god. This makes a lot of sense given the fact that this holiday is highly associated with the sun! In fact sunflowers are one of the floral associations with this day. I even have some cut sunflowers in my bedroom in honor of Lughnasadh!
There is a lot of mystery in the ancient festival celebrations. That is a common theme with many feasts that began within ancient Celtic traditions. We have little in way of written records, meaning that what is available was either written by other cultures speaking of the Celts (like the Romans who invaded Britain), or written in the medieval period.
What is known is that Lughnasadh is often referred to as Lugh’s funeral games in honor of his step-mother, or as Lugh’s Wedding Feast. This makes today’s harvest holiday one of rich dichotomy, and even confusion! No matter what today’s natural holiday, like all of the cross quarter days (that is the natural holidays that are not solstices or equinoxes), is a very powerful day. It is a time when the veil between the worlds is thin, making it a perfect day for communing with nature!
I hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit about the ancient traditions and associations of this holiday. Maybe I have inspired some of you to become more open to nature, or to commune with the old ones! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a harvest picture of Lughnasadh. I found the image on ireland-calling.com.
- Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials: Lughnasadh by Melanie Marquis
- The Fairy Bible by Teresa Moorey