Lughnasadh marks the halfway point between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox and was the marked beginning of the grain harvest season. In ancient Ireland, this was a huge deal as agriculture was so pivotal to their everyday lives. In many ways, Lughnasadh is an exceptionally complex High day in its history, and celebration both ancient and modern.
Lughnasadh is one of the recognized 4 fire festivals in Irish Celtic history and it is a celebration of/for/associated with the God Lugh. Lugh is often depicted as multi-skilled and he is brilliant at games of wit and physical feats as well. Legends of Lugh are abundant and while this celebration of the first harvest is generally accompanied by warrior games, it is also a time of mourning of Lugh's foster-mother Tailtiu.
One legend of Tialtiu is that she died of exhaustion while clearing (all) the fields of Ireland. Her death marked the start of the harvest season, and Lugh being her beloved foster-son, declared a festival and games in her memory and honor.
Games similar to our modern day Olympics would take place at Lughnasadh festivals (especially horse racing) but so too did games of wit. Modern day Neo-Pagans could play a game of Chess as well as foot races. Our grove has done Archery competitions and spear throw competitions but above all else, this High day is a celebration of harvest and sacrifice and a time to honor Tailtiu and Lugh.
Today, many Neo-pagans celebrate Lughnasadh by making fresh breads, eating fresh local produce and honoring the mighty Lugh and Tailtiu. They also partake in feats of strength, wit and endurance in modern warrior games, give thanks for the waning sun and celebrate with large bonfires on hilltops.
Leave a Reply.