Image from our Celtic Blessings 2020 wall calendar featuring artwork by Michael J. Green. Click for more info.
Lughnasa or Lughnasadh is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. In Modern Irish it is called Lúnasa, in Scottish Gaelic: Lùnastal, and in Manx: Luanistyn. Traditionally it is celebrated on August 1, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. Lughnasa is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Samhain, Imbolc, and Beltane. It corresponds to other European harvest festivals such as the Welsh Gŵyl Awst and the English Lammas.
Lughnasadh is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and has pagan origins. The festival itself is named after the god Lugh. It involved great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests, feasting, matchmaking, and trading. One of the most prominent gods in Irish mythology, Lugh is portrayed as a warrior, a king, a master craftsman and a savior. He is associated with skill and mastery in multiple disciplines, including the arts. He is also associated with oaths, truth, and the law.
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Image from our Celtic Mandala 2019 wall calendar featuring artwork by Jen Delyth.
Ceilidh – The Dance
Excerpt by Jen Delyth from the Celtic Mandala 2017 wall calendar — Within ancient and modern spiritual traditions, dance is a metaphor for life, an ancient choreography moving with the rhythm of the earth to the music of the cosmos. Within Celtic tradition, the Ceilidh is a gathering to celebrate music, storytelling, and dance. The long winter nights are passed to the music of the fiddle, the whistle, and the beat of the bodhran drum. Traditional Celtic dances weave intricate patterns of circles, spirals, and squares in arrangements of threes and fours – a dynamic expression of the eternal knot. In ritual dances such as the annual Beltane Maypole dance, men and women weave ribbons in ancient spiral patterns around the sacred tree to raise and manifest the fertile earth energies. Morris dancers continue the tradition of shaman dances. They wear antler headdresses and costumes of red and white representing the colors of the Otherworld. Their clogs, sticks, and bells stamp out rhythms in circular and square patterns in celebration of the ancient Horned God of fertility and strength. The Lord of the Dance is one of the oldest gods of the natural world. Within the Christian religion, he is still honored as the force at the center of our spiritual and metaphysical lives. Continue reading
As a calendar publisher, we immerse ourselves in information about all kinds of holidays and their related traditions. Changes of the season are especially ripe with many celebrations around the world. Today is the Autumnal Equinox also known to some as Mabon. Here’s a bit more about Mabon:
Image from our Celtic Mandala 2018 wall calendar featuring artwork by Jen Delyth. Click for more info.
Archaeological findings of prehistoric cultures in the British Isles reveal that important festivals observed the year’s equinoxes and solstices. In ancient history, Celtic peoples observed these days as the four Quarter Days: Ostara (Vernal Equinox), Litha (Summer Solstice), Yule (Winter Solstice), and Mabon (Autumnal Equinox). Today, Wiccans and Neo-pagans, who draw many traditions from Celtic culture, retain the Mabon tradition. Some communities refer to the day simply as “autumn harvest” or “autumn sabbat. ” Continue reading
Image from our Super Foods 2019 wall calendar featuring photos by Lynn Karlin. Click for more info.
Lammas is the first of the many harvest festivals of autumn (Shavuot, autumn equinox, Michaelmas, Thanksgiving). It falls on August 1, halfway between the height of the sun at summer solstice and the midpoint of autumn equinox, when light and dark are evenly balanced. At this time of the year we’re starting to notice the decline of the sun. It’s the time in the Northwest when the first leaves begin to fall. Continue reading