Coming up this weekend is the festival of Lughnasadh - otherwise known as First Harvest, Lammas (or bread mass), and by quite a few other names. It is a time to honor Gods and Goddesses of grains and harvests. It is also a time to honor the sacrificial God who spills his blood and sacrifices his body so that we may have a bountiful harvest. It is named after the Celtic sun god Lugh, whose counterpart is the Mother Goddess Danu. Below is my BOS entry on Lughnasadh. I plan on making a big dinner this weekend, complete with beef stew (the sacrifice of a bull was a Greek/Roman tradition at this time), cornbread (to honor the Corn Mother), honey butter (to honor the Sun god), and some sort of yummy round cake iced to look like a sun (...duh).
What will your celebration look like?
Love and Lyte,
Date: August 1st or 2nd
Also Called: First Harvest, August Eve, Lammas
Related Holidays: Festival of Green Corn (Native American), August Ceresalia (Rome),
Lughnasadh is the first of the three harvest festivals. Its name comes from the honoring of the Celtic sun god Lugh, though it is primarily a grain festival honoring the crops of corn, wheat, barley and the like. The Native Americans honor the Corn Grandmother/Mother at this time. Other sun and grain deities are honored as well, such as Ceres and Isis.
This sabbat does chiefly honor Lugh and his consort, the Great Mother Goddess Dana. The Goddess is considered the one that brought forth the first grain, but she is still pregnant with the future autumnal harvests. Though it is the god who sacrifices himself, becomes corn, and feeds the people. Sacrifice is a running theme at this time, and can be performed by baking an image of the God as bread and eating it. Or, you could burn, bury, or leave out a bit of the harvest in sacrifice. Also, along with bread, one can spill wine to symbolize the God’s blood.
The harvest is considered sacred the world over. The romans and Greeks revered Ceres, Demeter, and Persephone. Celtic and English witches keep a bit of the harvest to make the next Imbolc corn dolly, and some dress the current dolly as a pregnant mother. In Peru, parades are put on with everyone wearing their best clothes with corn being eaten or scattered about fields in blessing and sacrifice. The Bretons kept a similar tradition as that of the Corn Dolly, while in India it is the Cotton Mother that is celebrated at this time.
Breads and grain ales are commonplace during the Lughnasadh celebration. Bread represents not just the harvest, but the earth Mother, home, and hearth. Honey, as a sun food, is perfect to serve with harvest breads. Though, it is possibly most fitting to bake a loaf of cornbread with honey butter. Berries are also picked at this time, as they are just becoming ripe.
It is said that the last grain must be left standing as an offering for fairies or other nature spirits. Native Americans left the last corn stalk for the Corn Mother to reside in. While a Middle Eastern traditions says to bury the last harvested grain back into the earth so the corn spirit would want to return the following year.
Have a large harvest festival with friends and family. Decorate with summer themes, make sun cakes, and make sure to have the fruits of the First Harvest readily presented throughout the meal. Serve red wine and bread with honey in honor of the Goddess’ continued pregnancy and the God’s sacrifice for his people.