Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Halfway to Fall Already?

August 1 marks the midway point between the Summer Solstice and the Fall Equinox.  Like the other midway feasts (May Day, Halloween) it had significance in early agrarian societies.  But it is the one that's been lost for the most part. No, it doesn't have anything to with the South American animal, or the seekers of Tibetian Budhism.

It’s taken me a long time to find information on August 1, called Lammas.  I finally got information in a book on Druids that I ran across at a workshop of Celtic Heritage in America.  I learned, as I suspected, that Lammas is a feast of harvest.  In northern climates, it would be just the early first-fruits.  The word Lammas in Irish is Lughnasadh, and in Scottish Gaelic it’s Lunasad.  Lunasa is Irish for August, too.   

The ancient god Lugh, in Irish myth, is god of all arts and crafts.  He is also considered to be the greatest of the gods, and the name implies he has a large head.  Lugh is found beyond the British Isles, too, being depicted in early art from Sweden to the Punjab.  Of course, the Irish added  their own twist, weaving the story that Lugh has now become “Lugh-chromain” which is the Irish word we pronounce as “leprechaun,” certainly a crafty character if ever there was one.