Lughnasadh is the first of the harvest festivals, the first signal to tell us summer is on it’s way out and shorter days with colder nights will soon be here.
In preparing to write this post, I struggled with it because this is the time of year, that I (really, so very roughly) plan what we are going to do for the fall, where we decide what classes in our community we are going to register for, what programs we are going to participate in and events we are going to attend. It is the time of year that we like to visit one of the bigger farmers’ markets and talk about the first fruits and see how the corn is growing in the fields.
So much of that isn’t happening this year. The trip to the big farmers market is out and next month, when I would be planning for not-back-to-school picnics, my calendar is blank.
And just like my friends who have kids in school, I’m also wondering what September will look like, wondering what activities my kids will have available to them and wondering what our community will look like this coming year.
Lughnasadh invites us to examine our hopes and fears. We may have sown the seeds, but things outside of our control can affect the harvest.
My children are expressing their fears of life not being the same, of not having the same classes and activities available to them as last year and as we give space for all of these fears, we also talk about what we can do. We now can go to the playground and parks, we can visit the beach, we can still find raspberries and blackberries on the bushes, we can play all the outside games we love.
I jokingly tell my children, as they spin and dance and play in the sun, to take in all the solar power, make sure they have enough stored to light our home for the winter, “Mama! We have electricity in our home, you just have to flip the light switch”, they giggle back at me.
We have talked about solar energy, the sun and alternative sources of power a lot this season and that led to finding this How to Make A Solar Powered Mason Jar Night Light, which we are going to try out soon.
We have been talking about the power of lightning and if it’s a true thing or a myth, that lightning makes the grass grow greener. This relates to Lughnasadh because while many believe that Lugh, the god the festival derives its name from is a sun god, there is evidence to suggest that he is a god of lightning.
As we celebrate the first harvest, here are other activities we are doing to mark Lughnasadh, this year.
1. The Story of Lugh
Each Lughnasdh we tell the story of Lugh and we talk about the things we can do well, what our strengths are and what skills we want to gain. It’s always interesting to hear what my children say and I hope they always maintain the confidence they have now in their own abilities and skills. For a child-friendly version of Lugh’s myth, I like “The Coming of Lugh” from Ella Young’s Celtic Wonders, available to read here
2. Make Bread
Lughnasadh is also known as the wheat harvest and we make bread, using freshly harvested herbs when we can. For these breads, my kids love adding whatever herbs they want to the dough and it has made for some interesting combinations in the past, Cardomon Mint Loaf, anyone?
3. Play Games
Our family loves games, and I may use this feast day as an excuse to add to our growing collection of board games, the Tailteann Games were instituted by Lugh, to honour the goddess Tailtiu, his foster-mother.
My kids love kicking a ball around the soccer field, playing tag in the forest, or engaging in the games they make up together.
How is the summer going for you, friends? Are you enjoying the hot and humid days, or counting down the days to winter? Maybe your kids, like one of mine is enjoying the sun staying up into the night, but making plans for the winter to come.
We don’t know what the harvest will bring, but this Lughnasadh, I give thanks for the abundance of friendship and warmth that exists in our home.