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The Celtic Festival Lughnasadh

The Celtic festival of Lughnasadh is celebrated on the 1st of August, celebrating the first harvest of the year and the passing of summer into autumn.

The festival has been really important in Ireland since pre-historic times. In early Irish literature of irish mythology, it is said that the festival was named after the pagan sun god, Lugh Lámhfhada, who took his name after the month of August, Lúnasa in Irish. He brings sunshine and abundant harvest.

Traditional customs were celebrated on hilltops, mountains, and on riverbanks are the main locations to celebrate Lughnasadh in Celtic times. Festivities included feasts with the newly harvested crops, making of bread, entertainment with music and dance, matchmaking, trading, and competitive sporting games, most notably the Tailteann Games where there would have been displays of wrestling, spear throwing, running, long and high jump and horse racing. There were also contests of storytelling and gold smithery. Bonfires were also used to celebrate this festivity, similarly to the other seasonal festivals.

Today, Lughnasash is still celebrated in Ireland, but of course in very different ways. Some ways people celebrate include the Auld Lammas Fair in county Antrim, which occurs at the end of August. There is a celebration at Carrickfergus Castle with reenactments of how daily life would have been lived. The mountain pilgrimage Croagh Patrick takes place every year and attracts tens of thousands of people who hike the mountain bare foot.

It is a time to restore balance and harmony as we soon enter into Autumn months.

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