Lughnasadh: 10 Easy Ways to Celebrate the First Harvest
Lughnasadh is quickly approaching on August 1st. This is a time when Summer is beginning to wane, and the harvest season begins. Learn ten easy ways to celebrate Lughnasadh here.
What Is Lughnasadh?
When summer is at its peak, when the berries are ripe for the picking, and when we are basking in the sun’s warmth it’s time for celebration; our ancient Celtic ancestors celebrated with a holiday they called Lughnasadh. This was the first harvest celebration of the year, and marked the time when the crops were first harvested. Some were enjoyed immediately, while some was stored for the coming winter. Lughnasadh is a Pagan and Wiccan sabbat and is part of The Wheel of the Year. Lughnasadh is based on the sun’s cycle and was named after an ancient Celtic Irish god named Lugh.
1. Berry Picking on Lughnasadh
The berries ripen at this time of summer, and so traditionally they are also harvested. A great way to celebrate Lughnasadh with a friend or with your family is by finding a local berry farm and going berry picking! You will be harvesting your own fruit and partaking in an ages-old tradition that your ancestors may have done years ago. If you live in a wild place, perhaps you’re able to find a wild blackberry, blueberry or raspberry patch. Partake in the deliciousness of your harvest, but don’t forget to save some berries for the next easy way to celebrate Lughnasadh!
2. Make a Pie
The perfect way to use your harvested berries is to bake them into a pie! Not a baker or chef? Don’t worry about it being perfect. Buy a ready-made pie crust from the grocery store and look up a recipe online for blackberry pie. Or if you’re really brave, make the entire pie from scratch, just like your granny used to! After making your Lughnasadh berry pie, save it for dessert and share it with your family. Dedicate to Lugh or to the harvest gods and goddesses of your choice. Don’t forget to offer a piece to your ancestors.
3. Bake Bread
If you don’t want to make a pie but you still want to be traditional, now’s the time to bake a loaf of bread. Again, Lughnasadh was the first harvest sabbat when crops were first cut down. Often the grains were baked into a bread and shared among the family. Try your hand at baking your own cinnamon raisin bread, banana bread, zucchini bread, or a traditional wheat bread. Honor Lugh by leaving the first slice aside for him. This is honored in the other name for Lughnasadh which is Lammas, which meant loaf-mass.
4. Hill Climbing: A Lughnasadh Tradition
It was tradition to get as close to the sun as possible on the sun holidays. Lughnasadh was one of those days when the sun was celebrated and honored. Our ancestors encouraged the sun to stay high in the sky. In honor of the sun’s summer glory and the sun god Lugh, find a hill in your local community (the highest you can) and climb to the top. Even if it’s a small hill, the tradition of going to the top and being closer to the sun marks the sabbat Lughnasadh. And it gets you outside! In addition to climbing the hill, bring an offering with you for the sun god. A slice of bread you baked earlier or a slice of pie are perfect.
What’s one thing everyone loves to do? Eat! What’s a great reason to eat a lot of yummy, healthy food? The Lughnasadh harvest sabbat! Our ancient ancestors celebrated nearly every holiday with large feasts. Invite friends and family over and have a large potluck. Great Lughnasadh dishes include: seafood, herb-roasted chicken, bread, berries, potatoes, greens, pies, and more. Or keep it low-key, plan a Lughnasadh feast for you and your closest friends and family.
6. Start a Fall Garden
A fun thing to do on Lughnasadh is to plan or start your fall garden. This is the first harvest sabbat, so we’ll be harvesting from our spring garden, but don’t forget you can also have a fall garden. Fall gardens include vegetables and herbs that might grow better in cooler weather, such as: broccoli, onion, kale, turnips, cabbage, carrots and more. Whatever seeds you plant now should start to come up by Fall and boom! A Fall Garden will be underway. This will ensure a harvest in Autumn to prepare for the winter.
7. Drink Wine
Another plant that’s traditional to Lughnasadh is grapes, which also means wine! If you’re of age, an easy way to celebrate Lughnasadh is to partake in a glass or two of fine wine. While sipping, practice gratitude for the sun and the first harvest.
8. Lughnasadh Offerings
Whatever way you choose to celebrate Lughnasadh, set aside an offering for the sun and/or sun gods and goddesses. It’s because of the sun that we have food to survive. Leave aside the first slice of bread or pie. If you feast, a plate of food. If you drink wine, the first glass, Etc. Incense, candlelight, and even a song are also sufficient offerings.
9. Refresh Your Altar
One thing I enjoy doing with the turning of the Wheel of the Year is refresh my altar. This means taking everything off of it, dusting the altar and tools, then smudging and anointing with oil. In addition, re-decorating with symbols of the season is relaxing and brings a new vibe to your sacred space. For Lughnasadh, add items to your altar that represent wheat, corn, grapes, wine, berries, and the sun.
10. Prosperity Rituals
The harvest represents prosperity and abundance of blessings. Therefore, the first harvest Lughnasadh is the perfect time to perform prosperity rituals for the coming harvest and winter seasons. If you do an abundance ritual, make sure to specify an abundance of what (money, health, joy, etc.).