Lughnasadh

Lughnasad also known as Lammas (loaf mass, mass where the first loaf of bread is consecrated)is the first harvest of the year.The name of this festival as Lughnasadh is Irish Gaelic for "Commemoration of Lugh". Lugh is the Celtic god of the sun and of grain, who is born in the winter and dies at the harvest, representing the cycle of life.  Lughnasadh is also known to be  "Feast of the First Fruits". 

Celebration
       Lughnasadhi is celebrated in many places sunch as Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall etc..,It is the celebration of grains & abundance in the midpoint between the Solstice & Equinox marked on August 1st . In some places it differs depending on when the grain is ready.
   During this period, corn and other grains are ready to cut, also apples and grapes grow up in bunches.
Period of Celebration      
            One of several historic sources for the four Celtic fire festivals Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain is the early medieval Irish tale "Tochmarc Emire" (The Wooing of Emer), which is part of the Ulster Cycle.
        The tale narrates that Cú Chulainn is courting Emer. He receives several tasks to fulfill, one of them being that he must go without sleep for one year. As Emer utters her challenge, she names the four major points of the Irish-Celtic year.  Emer choses the first days of each season.      One of these days is Lughnasadh, marking the beginning of fall. It takes place on the 1st of August, Lughnasadh marks the beginning of the noticeable descent of the Sun into the darkness of winter. From the connection between the Earth (female principle) and the Sun (male principle), the marriage of the Sky Father (Sun God) with the Earth Mother we celebrated at Bealtaine, emerge the fruits of the first harvest of the year.
         Lughnasadh is a time of joy about the first fruits. It is also a time of tension, because the dark days of winter are coming nearer, and most of the harvest is not brought in and stored away yet.
Legend        
        The festival of Lughnasadh is named in honor of Lugh, by his Irish name.  He is also associated with the Roman God Mercury, there are many names through many cultures. Lugh is "The God of Light", "God of All Skills", the "Bright or Shining One"; He is associated with both the Sun and agricultural fertility.Lughnasadh is named for Lugh, the Celtic deity who presides over the arts and sciences. According to Celtic legend, Lugh decreed that a commemorative feast be held each year at the beginning of the harvest season to honor his foster mother, Tailtiu.      Tailtiu queen of the Fir Bolg.is said to be daughter of the King of Spain, wife of Eochaid of the Tuatha de Danaan and is recognized as a Celtic Earth Goddess. She cleared the field at Coill Chuan in Ireland for agricultural use and died exhaustion The area carries her name in memory; Teltown Kells, Co. Meath.When the men of Ireland gathered at her death-bed, she told them to hold funeral games and celebrations in her honor.

Dieties

       The Deities of Lughnasadh are Danu (Anu) the Mother of Gods and Men, and Lugh, the patron of scholars, craftsmen, warriors and magicians.

Rituals
  • Since the Celtic day started with sunset, the celebration takes place on the evening. 
  • The celebration of Lughnasadh includes the ritual cutting of the first grain and an offering up a portion of the harvest to the Gods and the Ancestors
  • The grain is cut, part of it cooked for the meal and the remaiming is stored and used as seeds next spring
  • Corn is one of the vital crops harvested at this time. Corn dollies are made in the shape of Goddess and God. In some areas the sacrifice of the corn king (corn dolly) is performed. 
  • Sacrifice of Bull
  • Ritual Dancing
  • In some places,people made a special cake called the lunastain, which was also called luinean when given to a man and luineag when given to a woman and offer some to god.
  • Visitors to holy wells would pray for health while walking sunwise around the well. 
  • Offerings of coins or cloth clooties are left at the wells. 
Traditions
  •  Lugh seems to have been worshipped, like his Greek and Roman correspondences Hermes and Mercury, mostly on elevations, hills or mountaintops.
  •  In modern Ireland the tradition still continues that on the last Sunday of July families ascend into the hills of the countryside to pick bilberries. The bilberries are symbolic of the bounty of Mother Earth
  • Lughnasadh shares the lighting of bonfires and visiting of holy wells with the other Gaelic festivals. The ashes from Lughnasadh bonfires would be used to bless fields, cattle and people. 
  • In Bavarian tradition, the most important festival in August is the "Ascension of Mary" on the 15th of August. On this day, numerous processions through the villages and along the fields are held. During these processions, decorated bundles of herbs, consisting of up to 77 different herbs, are carried along on wooden sticks. These herbs are specially consecrated and stored away then. They are used for ritual incense burning later in the year, e.g. during the "rough nights", the time of the winter solstice. An older name for this festival is "Maria Kräuterweih", meaning "Day of Mary and the Consecration of Herbs".
  • In an agricultural society the begin of the harvest was a natural occasion to celebrate and to give thanks to the Divine for Its gifts.
  • At Tailtin, trial marriages were conducted, whereby young couples joined hands through a hole in a wooden door could be made permanent or broken

  • People also make sand candles to honor the Goddess and God of the sea.
  • They also collect rain and storm water for use in spellwork or to empower objects, add dried mugwort and store in glass bottles.
  • Traditons also include music, dancing.parade and playing different games and visiting others.
Events

  • Trading, drawing up of contracts
  • Matchmaking
  • Feasting, arts and crafts workshops, market and have magical picnic
  • Religious ceremonies
  • Climbing mountains and hills
  • Horse and cattle fair
  • Story telling