Lugnasdadh–Honoring the Harvest

Before reading THIS POST by Allison Leigh Lilly, I don’t recall ever having heard of the ancient festival of Lugnasdadh, traditionally celebrated on August 1 or its nearest Sunday.

She writes:

During the sacred season of Lughnasadh, we can allow ourselves to take a few moments to explore the transformative grace that turns death into life, work into wheat, and grief into gratitude. We can root ourselves in all that it means to be human on this wild holy earth, and remember that part of honoring the work of those who have come before us is to enjoy the gifts of that work in the here and now, the sacred present, with all the gratitude and laughter we can muster.

The world won’t fall apart if we give ourselves time to grieve. The world won’t fall apart if we allow ourselves to be happy.

So bang the drums! And sing the song:

Hoof and Horn, Hoof and Horn
All that dies shall be reborn.
Corn and Grain, Corn and Grain
All that falls shall rise again.

I like that sentiment.

14 comments on “Lugnasdadh–Honoring the Harvest

  1. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, fall celebrations abound in my part of the country. It seems that each ethic group has a celebration of some kind. I’ve not heard of Lughnasadh either. That’s surprising since I have a lot of Irish heritage. Most all county fairs celebrate the harvest with vegetable judging, all kinds of food items judging. Animal 4H events keep the kids involved with county fairs. End of summer and fall celebrations are a way to ease into the winter months with memories of the past year. Like you I’m a home body and haven’t been to a county fair in decades. My last trek to a state fair was a few years ago as well. It’s a great way to spend a day and see the talented crafters and skilled animal managers display their work from the summer days. I’ve never had any desire to participate in any events at a fair other than the fried food on a stick.

    Have a great end of summer celebration day.


    • Bill says:

      I have a friend who was at the Iowa State Fair over the weekend. He kept posting pictures of crazy “fried food on a stick” things he was eating, like fried snickers bars on a stick. What?? When I was a kid it was cotton candy and candy apples.

      Interestingly, after I did this post I checked the wikipedia entry on Lughnasadh and discovered that it may be the reason family reunions tend to be in August, thanks to the Irish tradition from this festival.


  2. rhondajean says:

    Hello Bill. I watched the film Dancing at Lughnasa a few years back. It spoke of the festival. It’s about five spinster sisters in Ireland. Thank you for the link to Allison’s blog. I’ll read more there when I have some time.


  3. Gwen Wells says:

    Oh! I’m sorry y’all haven’t heard of Lughnasadh, but better late than never! It’s the first of two harvest celebrations, followed by Mabon in September. As much as I hate to see Summer end, it’s one of my favorites. I love the rush to gather, harvest and “put up,” and celebrating the Earth’s abundance with kin. A bit Celtic in my ancestry, I feel drawn to the celebrations of the Wheel of the Year– Imbolc, Ostara, Beltaine, Midsummer, Lughnasadh, Mabon, Samhain and Yule. Their connections with the Earth and her seasons help keep me grounded. “Deoch meá agus clocha sneachta na sinsear!” or as my fiance’s Norse ancestors would say, “Drekka mjöður og él forfeður!”


    • Bill says:

      Very interesting. Cherie may have heard of it, but I haven’t. Or if I have, I didn’t recall it.

      It’s interesting that our celebrations and festivals were once so tied to the seasons and the agricultural cycle. Remnants of those traditions remain our holidays, of course, but it seems the origins of them are largely forgotten now.


  4. EllaDee says:

    The absorption [at best] of Pagan spiritual practices and traditions heralded much of what was to come. But they and the beliefs behind them are deep rooted in our psyches. And no money or power in this world can change the fact [no matter what they try to convince us of] that we are born and we die. It’s the in-between bit we get to choose the how of.


  5. rhondajean says:

    Bill! me again. I looked on you tube and Dancing at Lughnasa is there – the entire film! Apart from Meryl Streep and Michael Gambon, the actors are relatively unknown, so they don’t bring their baggage with them or give you false expectations. I think you would enjoy it.


    • Bill says:

      Thanks! We’ll put it on our list. Watching movies is something we seem to only have time for in the winter. But we enjoy it when we do. Will look forward to seeing this one.


  6. Jeff says:

    You never cease to surprise me, Bill! I would never have imagined that you would be browsing a pagan website. I read the comments on the article you linked to and just out of curiosity, I clicked on the first commenter and started reading the posts on her blog. It turns out that she had gone to the Wild Goose Festival, too. Small world, eh? Everything is connected.


    • Bill says:

      I enjoy Allison’s blog. I’m not sure but I think I discovered it because of a post she wrote about the first Wild Goose festival years ago. I’m a sometimes reader of Melanie’s blog too. She’s definitely a Wild Goosian.


  7. Jeff says:

    I really liked her first post on the Wild Goose Festival, particularly the part where she described their outreach to the protesters outside the festival. And then the photograph of the Mary Oliver poem, Wild Geese. Is that where the festival got its name?


    • Bill says:

      One of my Goose friends took them water and held their signs for them while they went to the bathroom. He told me he was trying to “love the meanness out of them.”

      “The Wild Goose” is a Celtic metaphor for the Holy Spirit. That’s where the name came from, but the Mary Oliver poem is fitting, as is Wendell Berry’s “The Wild Geese,” which was also on display. It’s the last photo in this post I did about the 2013 Festival:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s