Five Easy Ways to Celebrate Lughnasadh
What Is Lughnasadh?
When summer is at its peak, when the berries are ripe for the picking, and when we are basking in the sun's warmth it is time for a celebration; our ancient Celtic ancestors celebrated this time with a holiday they called Lughnasadh. This was the first harvest celebration of the year, and marked the time when the crops would begin to be harvested. Some would be enjoyed immediately while some would be stored away for the winter months ahead.
Lughnasadh is a sabbat and is a part of The Wheel of the Year. It is celebrated on August 1st. This is a holiday that is celebrated by many Wiccans, Witches, and Pagans all over the world. Lughnasadh is a holiday that is based on the sun's cycle and was named after an ancient Celtic Irish god named Lugh. If you're wondering how to celebrate either by yourself or with your family, here I will provide you with five easy ways to celebrate Lughnasadh. You can do all five or pick just one, the choice is up to you!
1. Berry Picking
The berries would be ripening at this time of summer, and so traditionally they would also be harvested. A great way to celebrate Lughnasadh with a friend or with your family is by finding a local berry farm and doing a bit of berry picking! You will be harvesting your own fruit and partaking in an age-old tradition that your ancestors may have done years before you.
If you live in a wild place, perhaps you might be able to find a wild blackberry, blueberry or raspberry patch. If you choose to harvest these, make sure you know for sure they are in fact blackberries or blueberries. Make sure you're not picking some other kind of poisonous berry. Also make sure it's not on anyone's property who might be purposely growing the crop.
Partake in the deliciousness of your berry harvest, but don't forget to save some berries for the next easy way to celebrate!
2. Make a Pie or Bake Bread
The perfect way to use your harvested berries is to bake them into a homemade pie! Not a baker or chef? Don't worry about it being perfect. You can even buy a ready-made pie crust from the grocery store and look up a recipe online for blackberry pie. Or if you're really brave, make the entire pie from scratch, just like your granny used to! After making your Lughnasadh berry pie, save it for dessert and share it with your family. Dedicate to Lugh or to the harvest gods and goddesses of your choice. Don't forget to offer a piece to your ancestors.
If you don't want to make a pie but you still want to be traditional, now is the time to try to bake your own loaf of bread. Again, Lughnasadh was the first harvest sabbat when crops would start to be cut down. Often the grains would be baked into a bread and shared amongst the family. Try your hand at baking your own cinnamon raisin bread, banana bread, zucchini bread, or a traditional wheat bread. Honor Lugh by leaving the first slice aside for him. This is honored in the other name for Lughnasadh which is Lammas, which meant loaf-mass.
3. Hill Climbing
It was tradition to get as close to the sun as possible on the sun holidays. Lughnasadh was one of those days when the sun was celebrated and honored and our ancestors wanted to encourage the sun to stay high in the sky. In honor of the sun's summer glory and to honor the sun god Lugh, find a hill in your local community (the highest you can) and climb to the top of it. Be sure it is safe and be sure to take water and other necessities with you before embarking on this journey. Even if it's a small hill, the tradition of going to the top and becoming closer to the sun marks the sabbat Lughnasadh and is easy to do!
In addition to climbing the hill, be sure to bring an offering of some kind with you for the sun god and for your ancestors. This could include a slice of bread you baked earlier or a slice of pie. It could also be some incense you might light when you get up here or even just a simple prayer or poem.
What is one thing that nearly everyone loves to do? Eat! What's a great reason to eat a lot of yummy, healthy food? The Lughnasadh harvest sabbat, of course! Our ancient ancestors celebrated nearly every holiday with large feasts. Sometimes they'd give part of their bounties to the gods, but I suspect they kept the majority of their food to themselves (who wouldn't when one worked year-round to grow and harvest their own food supply?)
Invite friends and family over (if you want to share) and have a large potluck dinner. Ask others to bring a dish for a potluck, this way you don't end up buying and cooking food for lots of people. Some great Lughnasadh dishes include: seafood (crab, shrimp, fish, oysters), herb-roasted chicken, bread, berries, potatoes, greens, pies, and more.
Or if you wish to keep it more low-key, plan a Lughnasadh feast for just you and your closest friends and family. Don't forget to have the wine at the ready!
Don't forget to have the wine ready!— Nicole Canfield
5. Start a Fall Garden!
A somewhat unorthodox but simple and fun thing to do on Lughnasadh is to plan or start your fall garden. This is the first harvest sabbat, so we will be harvesting some items from our spring garden at this time, but don't forget you can also have a fall garden. Your fall garden could include vegetables and herbs that might grow better in cooler weather, such as: broccoli, onion, kale, turnips, cabbage, carrots and more.
If you don't have a garden, now is the time to plan one out. All you need is a small area of your yard, soil, and seeds. Or if you don't have a yard, you can always use pots! Whatever seeds you plant now should start to come up by Fall and boom! A Fall Garden will be underway. This will ensure a harvest in Autumn to prepare for the winter. Just the way our ancestors used to do it.
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© 2017 Nicole Canfield