Falling midway between Summer Solstice and Autumnal
Equinox is the cross-quarter holiday of Lugnasadh, which
is the first in the trilogy of harvest festivals, Lugnasadh,
Mabon and finally Samhain. Lugnasadh commemorates the
first fruits of the harvest; reminding us of our close
relationship with the Earth. It is at the time of Lugnasadh
when the days suddenly seem to shorten and the nights
Usually on or about 1st August.
Lugnasadh is also known as:
Lammas, Cornucopia, Thingtide, Festival of Light, Latha
Lugnasadh is a harvest celebration named for Lugh (Irish),
Llew (Welsh), Lug (Britonic),or Lugus, the Celtic sun
Lugnasadh is known to non-Celts as Lammas. The common
name for this seasonal celebration in modern times,
comes from the word for "loaf mass", which
celebrates the bread made from the first grain to be
harvested. This is the time of corn festivals and corn
dances. Lugnasadh was the first of three harvest festivals.
Lugnasadh was the early harvest, often the largest and
the most important followed by Mabon and then the final
harvest of the year which came at Samhain.
The success of the harvests would determine the quality
of life for the rest of the year. Every able-bodied
person would gather to harvest the all-important corn,
barley, oats and wheat; with everyone in the community
working together. At the completion of the work they
then would celebrate and thank the Gods for the bounty
of the fields. The descent into the darkness of winter
is still several months away, but the ever-present spector
of famine was never far from people's minds. A fine
celebration at Lugnasadh showed the Gods, that the people
truly appreciated the bounty given to them.
In Europe the Corn Mother was made from the last sheaves
of corn harvested; as her spirit was believed to be
embodied in these. The "corn dolly" would
be kept safe through winter and then buried in the spring,
with the sowing of the fields.