Lughnassa/Lughnasad/Lughnasa (ad infinitum) (LOO-nuh-suh)
, the festival of bread. Also called Lammas
, it is a Celtic
holiday most often celebrated on or about August 1 in the Northern Hemisphere. One of four seasonal holidays
along with Samhain
, Lughnassa marks the decline of Summer into Winter, is the turning point of the earth's life cycle and the feast of the first grain harvest.
Lughnassa celebrates the Celtic god Lugh (pronounced Loo). Lugh is God of All Skills, is known as the "Bright or Shining One", and is associated with both the Sun and agricultural fertility. Lleu, Lugh's equivalent in Britain and Wales, is the son of Arianrhod, Goddess of the Stars and Reincarnation.
The lore on this day is that Lugh goes into the grain, and is then cut down. Some bloodier tales tell of the sacrifice of priest-kings in the fields to ensure an abundant harvest and survival through the winter.
As pagan holidays became Christianized, some celebrated this Feast of Bread as "Loaf-mass," or Lammas.
The gathering of bilberries was an ancient ritual symbolizing the success of harvest. If the bilberries were bountiful then the crops would be, also.
Modern Wiccans may choose to celebrate this day by baking bread, cookies, harvesting their gardens or crops, celebrating the fruition/completion of a project, or by creating corn dolls. At the Burning Man festival in Nevada, large wicker men are erected and burned.