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The Festival of Lughnasadh

Lughnasadh Date Celebrated
1st August

Alternate Names
Lammas, Lunasa, Celtic "Grain Festival"

Christian Equivalent
Lammas

Place in the Natural Cycle

Lughnasadh is the cross-quarter festival that heralds the start of the autumn quarter of the year and the end of the summer quarter. Even though Lughnasadh occurs at the warmest time of the year, it marks the time at which days become noticeably shorter.

More About Lughnasadh

The autumn season contains three harvests, and Lughnasadh is the first of these, the time when the first corn harvest is cut. Lughnasadh is named after Lugh (pronounced "loo"), a Celtic deity of light and wisdom. At Lughnasadh, bread from the first harvest was eaten in thanks, and this tradition was continued in the Christian church's Lammas ("loaf-mass") service, where the first loaf would be blessed at mass.

In terms of the Goddess cycle, Lughnasadh is sometimes considered as the time of transformation of the Goddess into her aspect as pregnant Earth Mother. The God is getting weaker as the days grow shorter, but his rebirth is assured as he is also present as the Goddess's unborn child. Though the God is often thought of as dying at Samhain, there is a sacrificial aspect to Lughnasadh, with the Corn King being cut down to be transformed into the life-giving fruits of the harvest and resurrected as the new crop the following year. Deities and symbols associated with agriculture and harvest are all appropriate for Lughnasadh, and a symbolic eating of bread is often an important part of celebrations at this time of year.

Lughnasadh is a time to take stock and be thankful for what we have and what we have achieved. It is a time for sharing and appreciation, a time to consider our situation and learn the lessons of the ways in which we have reaped what we have sown, for good or for ill. It is also an auspicious time for deciding how to get the most from ongoing situations or projects, and how to bring more negative influences to an end.

The Mystical Calendar
The Eight Festivals:     Yule   -   Imbolc   -   Ostara   -   Beltane   -   Litha   -   Lughnasadh   -   Mabon   -   Samhain