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Harvest Festivals

Harvest Festivals from Around the World
    Irish Harvest Festival

    In Ireland they celebrate an autumn harvest festival where the farmers bring their harvests to trade or sell. Potatoes are used to make Poteen, a drink that is sold at fairs. There is lots of dancing, singing, music, and storytelling.

    Lughnasadh also called Lammas. August 1st Commemoration of Lugh, the Celtic god of the sun - on which, the summer celebration of the first grain harvest occurred.

    Lammas also known as the Celebration of Bread, the preparation of bread as a primary staple is a ritual in and of itself. It is the time of year when they celebrate the passing summer and lean into fall, storing their goods and thanking the Gods/Goddesses for a plentiful harvest and asking them for a safe winter.

    The grain was made into hearty breads, ale, and mead. These gatherings signified abundance as the people ended the period of survival on last year’s grain and began to eat this year’s. This is the first of three Celtic harvest festivals. This one marking the beginning of the harvest.

    Lammas is the first of the three harvest festivals, the other two being Mabon and Samhain. It marks the middle of summer and beginning of the harvest season. Lammas heralds the coming autumn. It is during this time between Lammas and the Autumn Equinox that we see the theme of the God's sacrifice coming into being. The God must die and merge with the earth in order for the harvest to be plentiful. In the Celtic tradition, Lugh's decline toward his sacrifice is celebrated; his death is not celebrated until the Autumn Equinox.

    Lughnasadh is the first of the 3 harvest festivals and is celebrated on August 1st or 2nd. Other names this holiday may be known as are Lammas, First Harvest, Bread Festival, August Eve, and Elembiuos.

    Lughnasadh is an Irish tradition, with the Old Irish word Lunasa which meant "August". The celebration is in honor of the Celtic Sun God, Lugh. Lughnasadh is a cross-quarter Sabbat, meaning it lies between Sabbats based on solar occurrences.

    For most people, this time of year is when people have picnics, county fairs, rodeos, ice cream socials. The first crops have ripened and been harvested at this time for centuries, and it seems to be a time when life needs to be enjoyed. Lughnasadh is all about celebrating and acknowledging the earth’s abundance and your spirit alive in the body and enjoying life on earth.

    Autumnal Equinox occurs on September 21st or 22nd. This is the time of equality of day and night with the forces of light on the decrease. This is the second of the harvest festivals. This time marking the end of the harvest.

    The Autumnal Equinox is associated with the colors yellow, orange, and brown, the astrological sign of Libra, and the element of air.

    Irish Catholics celebrate the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours or as it is also known Martinmas, held on November 11. This feast was held to honor the Hungarian saint who, as legend goes, hid in a barn when he heard he had been appointed a bishop and believed he did not earn such an honor. A honking goose as legend goes was to reveal his hiding place, so roast goose became a traditional dish for Martinmas feast, along with wine made from the grape harvest.

    As well the day held elements of the Halloween tradition with children marching in parades carrying homemade lanterns.

    Also in Ireland they hold a festival known as St. Michael's Mass or Michaelmas and it is held on September 29. Fairs with markets and games, especially horseracing are associated. It is associated with the color gold, all the harvest colors, the harvest and bounty of the land, and the sacred king.

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