Design a Day to Celebrate!
I learned about all Lughnasa (also called Lammas) this month when a friend asked if they could bring me cupcakes and little paintings by the kids as thank you gifts for all the things I've taught their children over the past year.
I was like, well that is beyond sweet and of course you can bring me cupcakes! But dare I ask why?
They explained that it was August 1, the halfway point between summer solstice and the autumnal equinox. This is the ancient Gaelic holiday of Lughnasa.
It's a day of celebrating the kick off of the fall harvest season, as well as appreciating craftspeople in the village who teach the skills that keep the community connected. It honors the idea that community is stronger than an individual.
And in life, whether talking about raising children, goats, working toward community immunity through vaccination to end a global pandemic, or simply checking off that to-do list by day to day, it takes a village to get the job done!
Lugh was the Gaelic god of light and patron of craftspeople and it's said he started this holiday filled with feasts, fairs, and fun as an homage to his step-mother Tailtiu.
The name is a combination of the name Lugh and the old Gaelic word for assembly, násad. In old English, the name Lammas is derived from the word hlaf-maesse, which means loaf mass. (Like a dense loaf of bread that was blessed.)
People would celebrate with feasts focusing around the grains that they were beginning to harvest and particularly bread baking. They would also engage in athletic challenges and games, as well as singing songs and making offerings to the gods as well as the craftspeople who pass down the knowledge of their craft.
Some people would (and still do) make pilgrimages to natural freshwater wells and springs where they would walk sunwise (clockwise) around the water and make offerings of cloths tied to surrounding trees to wish for good health.
Have you ever noticed how many county fairs happen late August through October? We likely have this traditional seasonal midpoint festival to thank.
In modern Ireland, Scotland, and England, this day is still celebrated in the form of festivals and fairs, craft markets and workshops, parades, music, dancing, storytelling, family reunions, and historical reenactments. Today around the world, many Wiccans still celebrate and honor this milestone in the wheel of the year.
But anyone can celebrate in any nature inspired way they like! We are all connected to nature through the seasons, so Lughnasa is a perfect day to pause and enjoy all the bounty nature brings us!
This super fun artwork was made by my friend Corey. He saves lives for his job and up-cycles wood and paints great designs on it for his hobby! Check him out @earthkarmawoodshop
3 Ways to Celebrate Lughnasa
Take a Nature Walk
Engage the traditional ritual of walking around the spring by talking a nature walk.
You could walk around a spring, lake, pond, near a river, or anywhere you like. But of course it doesn't have to be near water - remember you are designing your day!
Just get out there and celebrate the bounty of our big beautiful biodiverse natural world.
Celebrate Our Skills
Lugh was the god of craftspeople, so get crafty in any and every way!
It was said he was a god with many skills.
I bet if you start thinking about the skills held by the people closest to you, you'll discover much to celebrate! So make some crafts and create and offer gifts to those who share their craft with you!
*Make a wreath that includes seasonal flowers, vines, and dried sprigs of wheat and other grains.
*Create a corn husk doll
*Learn how to weave a small basket or
*Include a photo walk as part of your immersion in nature walk and then make a nature journal design from the photos with collage, paint, or both!
Bake Bread (& other grain based treats!)
Lughnasa is not complete without a feast celebrating the grains! Bake bread, or other bread-centric treats and share them with those you hold dear.
Try Baking Bannock:
Bannock is a traditional bread with origins attributed to native tribes including the Nunavut and Cree. It is easy to make and best of all can be cooked over a campfire! (I mean who doesn't want to design a campfire into their celebration?) It can be baked in a skillet over an open flame or even roasted on a stick like a marshmallow!
Now, after all this are you thinking, but August 1 has passed? Why should I celebrate a holiday not on the actual day? Because it is fun, and why not?
You are designing this day to be a unique celebration of this time in the calendar, so what difference does a week or two make?
With the origin based on the harvest times, I am sure the ancient people who invented this tradition celebrated when the first grains were ready, and didn't worry about a rigid date. So simply, enjoy the bounty of late summer!
How will you Design your Lughnasa Day?
Share in the comments below!
Share photos on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder
Seeds to Sprout:
Use the method in this Wonder Wednesday 95 Summer Solstice crown making to make a Lughnasa wreath!
Honor the glory of grains and bake a delicious dandelion cake with this Wonder Wednesday 93 project!
Major Creative Connecting
Draw Yourself Back to Nature is the ultimate guide for using creativity to connect with our natural world! It's chock full of projects perfect for Lughnasa! From sensory observations to photo walks to painting projects the fun awaits!