Tag Archives: Lughnasa

Bilberry Sunday

The Organic Kitchen Garden 2017 wall calendar

Image from The Organic Kitchen Garden 2017 wall calendar. Colander of blackberries © Sonja Dahlgren. Click image for more info.

In Ireland, the last Sunday in July is known as Bilberry Sunday, although it seems the custom of going to the mountains to look for bilberries has somewhat died out. I found one reference online to a festival in Ardagh, Ireland, in 2015 where the participants climbed Bri Leith (also known as Ardagh Hill) to collect bilberries.

I read of one old custom where the girls would bring home bilberries and bake them into a cake to present to the one they loved. But Máire MacNeill, in her book on the festival of Lughnasa (August 1), says the boys make the girls bilberry bracelets, which are left behind when it’s time to return home. Either way, this is a courting festival like May Day, three months earlier. Continue reading

Lammas: First Celebration of the Harvest

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