Lughnasadh/Lammas

Lughnasadh/Lammas

The Lughnasadh Sabbat on August 1st is a time to celebrate the first of three harvest celebrations (Mabon and Samhain being the other two). It marks the middle of Summer represents the start of the harvest cycle and relies on the early crops of ripening grain, and also any fruits and vegetables that are ready to be harvested. It is therefore greatly associated with bread as grain is one of the first crops to be harvested. It is a time to give thanks and honor to all Gods and Goddesses of the Harvest, as well as those who represent Death and Resurrection.
Lughnasadh means the funeral games of Lugh (pronounced Loo), referring to Lugh, the Irish sun god. However, the funeral is not his own, but the funeral games he hosts in honor of his foster-mother Tailte. For that reason, the traditional Tailtean craft fairs and Tailtean marriages (which last for a year and a day) are celebrated at this time.
Lughnasadh was also the traditional time of year for craft festivals. The medieval guilds would create elaborate displays of their wares, decorating their shops and themselves in bright colors and ribbons, marching in parades, and performing strange, ceremonial plays and dances for the entranced onlookers.
One traditional Lughnasadh custom was the construction of the kern-baby, corn dolly, or corn maiden. This figure, braided into a woman’s form from the last harvested sheaf of grain, represented the Harvest Spirit. (In America, the tradition is continued in the making of corn husk dolls.) The doll would be saved until Spring when it was plowed into the field to consecrate the new planting and ensure a good harvest. In other traditions, the corn dolly was fed and watered throughout the Winter, then burned in the fires at Beltane to ensure a continuation of good growth.

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