Lughnasa is a Celtic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man, on 1 August, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox.
Lughnasa is one of the four Celtic 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. In Old Gaelic the name was Lugnasad. This is a combination of Lug (the god Lugh) andnásad (an assembly).
The Gaelic Lugh is the same ancestral being as Lugus in Gaul and Celtic Britain. He is known as Wotan in Germany, and as Woden to the Anglo-Saxons, and as Odin to the Norse. Lugh derives from the Proto Indo Euroepan root ‘leuk’ meaning ‘flashing light’ which is associated with solar attributes. Lugh’s connection with the warmth and light of the sun and the importance of these attributes to the harvest season elevated Lughnasa to a primary festival.
|modern illustration of Lugh|