Lughnasadh, also known as Lúnasa, Lùnastal, Luanistyn or Lammas, is a Gaelic festival of the first harvest, which also corresponds with other European early harvest festivals. It is held on the 1st of August, halfway between the Summer Solstice (Litha) and the Autumn Equinox (Mabon).
The festival is named after the Celtic god Lugh, and part of the festival is often offering some of the first harvest’s bounty in gratitude, and feasting or athletic competitions. Historically, journeys to sacred wells or holy shrines, or climbing mountains or hills have been popular, and in some places are still observed. Lugh is often seen as a personification of the first harvest, or the corn itself, and he is sometimes recast as folkloric figures such as John Barleycorn.
Lughnasadh colours: gold, orange, yellow, green, light brown
Lughnasadh crystals: amber, citrine, aventurine, peridot
Lughnasadh foods: Bread, corn, soup, root vegetables, berries, mead, rice, barely, nuts, seasonal fruits, roasted meats, honey, beer
Ideas for Lughnasadh celebrations:
- Bake bread! Baking bread is one of the most traditional ways of celebrating this festival, and the first of the grains have been harvested. Consider baking different types of loaves, experiment with plaiting the dough or drawing designs on the top. Add seasonal berries, nuts or seeds to the dough to add flavour and interest
- Have a picnic with friends and family – with lots of bread!
- Go on a walk up a mountain or hill, or visit a sacred place such as a shrine, holy well, stone circle or burial mound (or just somewhere sacred to you if none of those are available)
- Play games with friends or family, have a sports contest such as a running race or a tug of war
- Make a donation of food to your local food bank or donate money to a charity
- Hold your own Lughnasnadh ritual, light a fire and offer some food to the god Lugh and thank him for your harvest, and feel gratitude in knowing that all your efforts are coming to fruition
- Make corn dollies, instructions for lots of interesting designs can be found online, or make sculptures and decorations out of salt dough
- Light a candle and make a list of all that you are thankful for, and meditate upon this
- Go on a foraging trip, look for early apples, plums, berries and edible fungi (ensure you are certain of what you are harvesting before you eat it!)
A blessed Lughnasadh to all, however you chose to celebrate it, and may your August be fruitful, prosperous and full of joy :)