Holy day for Wiccans and Druids falling on August 1st or its eve. One of the eight Sabbats of the year. Also called Mabon or Lammas although this latter is frowned upon by neopagans it being the Christian term for the same day.

Lugh is a Celtic god and nasad means marriage. Thus, Lughnasad commemorates the marriage of the god Lugh. It is the first of the three neopagan harvest festivals and a great time to eat those summer fruits.

Pronounced 'Lug-Naust', it is the major harvest festival. It was also a time when the sidhe would honor the earth by murdering their Summer King. They would treat a mortal like he was gold, and then string him up, bury him alive, burn him, whatever, to feed their sadistic natures and ensure a good harvest for the next year. At least, that's how the story goes.

I'm almost certain it would be more usual to pronounce this 'LOO-na-sa', as in Lúnasa, the Irish word for the month of August. However, there are almost certainly as many pronunciations of this festival as there are spellings. Brian Friel's most successful play was entitled Dancing at Lughnasa.

In Ireland, we still have a holiday around this time, although we now call it the August Bank Holiday. We also have a holiday coinciding with Samhain (Halloween), but we only recently fell into step with the rest of the world in celebrating Bealtaine (May Day).

A few clarifications for windigo's writeup...

Yes, it was traditional to appoint or otherwise choose a May King and Queen at the start of the planting season, near or on Bealtaine as a matter of fact. And yes, the King and Queen were treated extremely well during the spring and summer, in the hope of a good harvest.

Where the history differs comes at the time of the harvest. If the harvest was decent, all was good, and the next year, a new King and Queen would be chosen. If, however, the harvest was not so good, then yes, the King and Queen would be sacrificed. There was nothing sadistic about this, however. Keep in mind that death was not feared among the sidhe and other ancient peoples as it is feared today. Death was merely seen as a passing on to another plane of existence. In this case, sacrificing the May King and Queen was done to send them on as messengers to the gods, asking them to explain why they didn't smile on the harvest this year, and to ask for a better one next year.

Hence the royal treatment the King and Queen would receive during the summer. If you were going to go talk with a god face-to-face, wouldn't you want to look your best and be in a good mood? And if you were responsible for sending that messenger, wouldn't you want the gods in question to see that you wouldn't send just anyone, but rather someone you thought of very highly and treated very well?

Lughnassa/Lughnasad/Lughnasa (ad infinitum) (LOO-nuh-suh), the festival of bread. Also called Lammas or Lughnasadh, it is a Celtic holiday most often celebrated on or about August 1 in the Northern Hemisphere. One of four seasonal holidays along with Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane, Lughnassa marks the decline of Summer into Winter, is the turning point of the earth's life cycle and the feast of the first grain harvest.

Lughnassa celebrates the Celtic god Lugh (pronounced Loo). Lugh is God of All Skills, is known as the "Bright or Shining One", and is associated with both the Sun and agricultural fertility. Lleu, Lugh's equivalent in Britain and Wales, is the son of Arianrhod, Goddess of the Stars and Reincarnation. The lore on this day is that Lugh goes into the grain, and is then cut down. Some bloodier tales tell of the sacrifice of priest-kings in the fields to ensure an abundant harvest and survival through the winter.

As pagan holidays became Christianized, some celebrated this Feast of Bread as "Loaf-mass," or Lammas.

The gathering of bilberries was an ancient ritual symbolizing the success of harvest. If the bilberries were bountiful then the crops would be, also. Modern Wiccans may choose to celebrate this day by baking bread, cookies, harvesting their gardens or crops, celebrating the fruition/completion of a project, or by creating corn dolls. At the Burning Man festival in Nevada, large wicker men are erected and burned.

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