Lughnasadh, or Lammas Day, is the first harvest festival in the Wheel of the Year, it's a time to celebrate and give thanks for bountiful crops and the generous deities that bring them. If you're new to the Wiccan sabbat, and it's Celtic history, here's a quick and simple introduction to the traditions and mythology that surround it.
Food plays a major part in the Lughnasa Sabbat. Covens often have a pot-luck dinner after their ritual, to which everyone brings a delicious dish made with local, seasonal ingredients. If you are not a member of a coven, you can still do this and invite your friends around! After the dinner, a more elaborate version of the Earth Offering ritual is performed, with the seeds of fruit that has been eaten sown back in the earth in thanks and to symbolize the circle of life and rebirth. Learn how to make your own Lammas Day Bread & throw a thanksgiving feast.
Lughnacy games are another aspect of the celebrations at this Sabbat. Adults resurrect their favorite simple childhood games such as hopscotch and playing catch, and compete against each other in friendly competitions. The winner is rewarded with a crown made from corn stalks. Corn is also eaten as corn on the cob, baked in the embers of the bonfire from the ritual and slathered with butter. It is used, too, for making corn dollies for children to play with and to put on the altar to represent coven members and family who cannot be present at the celebrations.
In mythology, Lughnasa is sacred to the Celtic God Lugh, who instituted the first celebrations in honor of Tailtiu, the Queen of the Fir Bolg. Tailtiu worked until she died from exhaustion to make the land ready for the planting of wheat and corn for the humans under her care. As she lay dying, she promised the people that, as long as they honored her memory by celebrating, they would always have food in body and mind—some say this is the reason the Irish are so well known for their literary and artistic achievements.
This extract is taken from The Green Wiccan Year by Silja.