Lughnasadh is a Gaelic holiday traditionally associated with the first of August.

Also known as: Lammas, August Eve, The Festival of Bread, Elembiuos, Lunasa, Cornucopia (Strega), Thingtide (Teutonic)

Date: August 1 or 2, or

History

Neopaganism

Lughnasadh is observed by Neopagans in various forms, and by a variety of names. As forms of Neopaganism can be quite different and have very different origins, these representations can vary considerably despite the shared name. Some celebrate in a manner as close as possible to how the Ancient Celts and Living Celtic cultures have maintained the traditions, while others observe the holiday with rituals culled from numerous other unrelated sources, Celtic culture being only one of the sources used.

Celtic Reconstructionism

Like other Reconstructionist traditions, Celtic Reconstructionists place emphasis on historical accuracy, and base their celebrations and rituals on traditional lore from the living Celtic cultures, as well as research into the older beliefs of the polytheistic Celts. Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans tend to celebrate Lughnasadh at the time of first fruits, or on the full moon that falls closest to this time. In the Northeastern United States, this is often the time of the blueberry harvest, while in the Pacific Northwest the blackberries are often the festival fruit.

In Celtic Reconstructionism (CR), Lá Lúnasa is seen as a time to give thanks to the spirits and deities for the beginning of the harvest season, and to propitiate them with offerings and prayers to not harm the still-ripening crops. The god Lugh is honored by many at this time, as he is a deity of storms and lightning, especially the storms of late summer. However, gentle rain on the day of the festival is seen as his presence and his bestowing of blessings. Many CRs also honor the goddess Tailitu on this day, and may seek to keep the Cailleachan (“Storm Hags”) from damaging the crops, much in the way appeals are made to Lugh.

Wicca

In Wicca, Lughnasadh is one of the eight “sabbats” or solar festivals in the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It is the first of the three autumn harvest festivals, the other two being the Autumn equinox (or Mabon) and Samhain. One telling of the story commemorates the sacrifice and death of the Wiccan Corn God; in its cycle of death, nurturing the people, and rebirth, the corn is considered an aspect of their Sun God. Some Wiccans mark the holiday by baking a figure of the god in bread, and then symbolically sacrificing and eating it. These celebrations are not based on Celtic culture, despite the use of a Celtic name used for the sabbat.

the first Full Moon of Leo

Symbols: All Grains, Breads, Threshing Tools, Berries (especially Blackberries)

Deities: Harvest and Grain Deities, New Mother Goddesses

Colors: Gray, Yellow, Gold, Green

 

 

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