Lughnasadh (or Lammas). A celebration of the first Summer harvest. A time of gathering of first fruits reaped from gardens and cultivated fields. As a solitary Witch, I’ve never put much emphasis on celebrating Lughnasadh/Lammas, rather focusing on the equinox and solstice’s (with Samhain and Imbolc thrown in for good measure). However, as my family and I have come together for sabbats, we’ve learned the benefit of including this Pagan celebration. Most often, our observance of the Wheel of the Year includes traditional themes and rituals. Sometimes, we enjoy focusing on a different reason to celebrate.
3 Pagans and a Cat has two episode series on the Wheel of the Year. The first series is the basics. Information about the sabbat and how to celebrate it. The second series is a “deeper dive”, exploring more about the holiday and looking at meaningful themes within the individual sabbats which may not be standard. But first, let’s take a look at Lughnasadh/Lammas. Here are the basics facts about this Summer sabbat:
- Falling between the Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox, Lughnasadh is celebrated on August 1st.
- It is the first of three harvest festivals and focuses on “first fruits.”
- The ancient celebration honored Lugh and his foster mother (Tauiltu) with feasts, games, sport, etc.
- The alternate (Christian) name for this harvest celebration, Lammas, is taken from an Old English word which means “Loaf Mass.” Grain was harvested and the first fruits (or first offerings) would be made into loaves of bread and brought to the church to be consecrated.
- Modern Pagans tend to focus more on the celebration of the first harvest than observe Lughnasadh as a festival to Lugh.
8 Ways to Celebrate Lughnasadh by Jason Mankey
5 Ways to CelebratAll About Lamma (Lughnasadh) by Patti Wiggington
How to Celebrate Lughnasadh/Lammas by Holly Knowles
Lughnasadh/Lammas by The Celtic Connection
Don’t have time but still want to honor the sabbat? Get creative with your observance of Lughnasadh!
Is this your first time observing Lughnasadh? Are you going to be busy or out of town, so your plans for ritual are being thwarted? Here are some ideas for honoring the sabbat, even if you do not have a ritual or gathering:
- Prepare a meal with your family (you’ve got to eat, right?) which emphasizes the “first fruits” theme but save a portion as an offering to the gods on your altar, leave it outside before you sit down to eat, etc.
- Growing seasons can be difficult. In this case, one might focus on releasing what is lost and salvaging what is still useful for current use or the future. This can be a literal garden or a look into the shadow self.
- Honor Lugh through artistic labors such as painting, sculpting, acting, singing, dancing or any kind of craft/art/sport, etc.
- Share “first fruits” with a local food pantry as an act of devotion to the gods.
Spring is a time of planting seeds. As Summer begins, there is a sense of waiting for things to grow. Harvest is when you have to get into the nitty gritty of doing the work necessary to gather the fruits of labor. Lughnasadh represents the beginning and ultimate reward of that work. First fruits does not have to mean a literal harvest of fruit and grain. You may be ready to harvest the seeds which you’ve sown into your own spiritual growth. However you choose to observe the day, go about your activities in a mindful, productive way and you will be honoring the spirit of Lughnasadh.