The High Summer Harvest Festival Of Lughnasadh-Lammas August 1, 2020
"These are the days of the endless summer."
Thematic Images of the "Celtic Wheel of the Year"
As a representation of humanity's psychological relationship with the amount of Light and Dark throughout the year (and specifically within 24 hour cycles), the Celtic Wheel of the Year is an accurate reflection of our internal ebbs and flows.
For information on the nature of the "Celtic Wheel of the Year,"click here
Lúnasa as in the name for the month of August. August 1 was the beginning of the autumn season in the medieval British Isles.
THE COLIGNY CALENDAR
The earliest-known Celtic calendar, the Gaulish "Coligny calendar" (discovered in Coligny, France), is dated to the 2nd century CE (when the Roman Empire imposed the use of the Julian Calendar in Roman Gaul) and as such firmly within the Gallo-Roman period.The Coligny calendar is possibly the oldest Celtic lunisolar ritual calendar. (The astronomical format of the calendar year that the Coligny calendar represents may well be far older, as calendars are usually even more conservative than rites and cults. The actaul date of its inception is unknown, but correspondences of Insular Celtic and Continental Celtic calendars suggest that some early form may date to Proto-Celtic times, roughly 800 BCE.) It is made up of bronze fragments, but was once a single huge plate. The Coligny calendar achieves a complex synchronization of the solar and lunar months. The lunisolar Coligny calendar was used by Celtic countries to define the beginning and length of the day, the week, the month, the seasons, quarter days, and festivals. Some feast days of the medieval Irish calendar have sometimes been speculated to descend from prehistoric festivals, especially by comparison to terms found in the Coligny calendar.
For more information on the Celtic Coligny calendar, click here
Thematic Images for Lughnasadh-Lammas Greetings
Thematic Images for Lughnasadh-Lammas
Thematic Images for Lughnasadh-Lammas First Harvest Festival
Lughnasadh first harvest festival
Lughnasadh harvest celebration
Thematic Images of Harvest Paintings
Thematic Images for Lughnasadh-Lammas Harvest Moon
Thematic Images for Lughnasadh-Lammas Gods and Goddesses
Thematic Images for Lughnasadh-Lammas Fairs & Customs
For information on Lughnasadh pilgrimage sites, click here
Thematic Images for the Legendary John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn, Corn King
"John Barleycorn" is an old British folksong with many versions. Folk-song specialists have concluded that it is "an old song,” with printed versions dating as far back as the sixteenth century. There are versions of the song that date back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, but there is evidence that it was sung for many years before that. There are a number of different versions, but the most well-known one is the Robert Burns version, in which John Barleycorn is portrayed as an almost Christ-like figure, suffering greatly before finally dying so that others may live.
The character of John Barleycorn in the song is a personification of the important cereal crop barley and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky. In the song, John Barleycorn is represented as suffering indignities, attacks and death that correspond to the various stages of barley cultivation, such as planting, growing, harvesting, death, and malting.
British author Kathleen Herbert links the figure of John Barleycorn with the mythical figure Beowa, who was figure stemming from Anglo-Saxon paganism, Beowa, whose name means "barley" (and was associated with the threshing of the grain, and agriculture in general) appears in early Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies. Noting that the folksong details the suffering, death, and resurrection of Barleycorn, yet also celebrates the "reviving effects of drinking his blood,” Herbert says that Beowa and Barleycorn are one and the same. Anthropologist and folklorist Sir James Frazer cites John Barleycorn as proof that there was once a pagan cult in England that worshipped a god of vegetation, who was sacrificed in order to bring fertility to the fields.
Lughnasadh Harvest Sunshine
Lughnasadh magic night
"... and we walked by pagan streams."
Thematic Images of August Fairs
The Lughnasadh Fairs & Woodstock Fair
There were Lughnasadh fairs held all over Ireland since the Middle Ages through to the 18th century. Some of the most famous fairs were the Donnybrook Fair, the Puck Fair, and the Ould Lammas Fair. These August harvest fairs were an opportunity for a lavish display of all the arts under the Celtic god Lugh’s patronage, including poetry and music. It is said that the entertainment at these fairs was accompanied by all the cacophony of the modern fairground.
The Donnybrook Fair was one of the most important of the Lughnasadh fairs in Ireland. It was very popular and immensely crowded. According to the reports, it attracted thousands of people and was chaotic and loud affair. The sounds of drums, bells, toy trumpets, fiddles, bagpipes and singing added to the pandemonium. The official history of the Doonybrook Fair says that it was established in the year 1204, and in 1252 was extended to fifteen days. Over the years, the terms of holding the fair changed slightly, until in the 18th century it was held on 26th August on Donnybrook Green for a fortnight (i.e., 14 days).
Several other famous Lughnasadh fairs still survive in Ireland, like the Puck Fair, which takes place at Killorglin in County Kerry, since at least the 16th century, on the 10th of August, and is believed to be a survival of a Lughnasadh festival. This three-day festival involves, among other events, parades, dancing, arts and crafts. Another famous fair is the Ould Lammas Fair, which takes place at Ballycastle, in County Antrim on the last Monday and Tuesday in August. It is said to be one of the oldest festivals in Ireland. It draws a great number of tourists each year. In recent years, a number of other revival Lughnasadh fairs have sprung up in various towns around Ireland. Like the Puck Fair, these often include traditional music and dancing, arts and crafts workshops, traditional storytelling, and markets.
And, today, because a few of these August Lughnasadh fairs still survive in Ireland and England, they serve as a reminder of the excitement which once attended the ripening of the corn across the ancient British Isles.
Although there is, of course, no traditional connection between these surviving August Lughnasadh festival fairs and the 1969 Woodstock music festival, it is an intriguing coincidence that the Woodstock festival took place around the same time as the Lughnasadh fairs and was billed as a fair—a “Music and Art Fair.” This coincidental timing (and the similar fair structure) may be chalked up to the unconscious workings of a deep ancestral memory of the seasonal rituals (based upon a solar vegetation mythology) that regularly took place for traditional agrarian peoples (in the Northern hemisphere) at harvest time in August.
(The uptight Victorians banned these Lughnasadh fairs for being too rowdy. The Donnybrook Fair was particularly out of control and thus suppressed by the authorities in 1855. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “donnybrook” as “a scene of uproar and disorder.” It is noteworthy here that New York Governor Rockefeller was ready to call out the National Guard in order to shut down the "Woodstock Music and Art Fair.")