Lughnasadh or Lammas is one of the four major pagan holidays. It’s celebrated on August Eve or the night between August 1 + 2. The other major holidays are Beltane, Imbolc (Imbolg) and Samhain.
Down and Dirty Quick History
Lughnasadh is an ancient Celtic festival that was in honor of the God of the sun, harvest and light, Lugh. The reason why the sun went away at night was unknown for a long time, and Gods and Goddess were formed as a way to understand these crazy happenings (at least that’s my current theory).
Lammas festival was a festival to celebrate the fall harvest that was about to begin. In pagan traditions, baking bread from scratch and blessing the harvest were common. These were ceremonies that the Church could get behind, thus Lughnasadh is one of the oldest pagan festivals that survives mostly unaltered by the Church.
If you are looking for a more in depth history or more information on Lammas, check out the following books:
- Wicca Wheel of the Year Magic: A Beginner’s Guide to the Sabbats, with History, Symbolism, Celebration Ideas, and Dedicated Sabbat Spells
- The Modern Witchcraft Guide to the Wheel of the Year: From Samhain to Yule, Your Guide to the Wiccan Holidays
- Lammas: Celebrating the Fruits of the First Harvest
- Lughnasadh: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Lammas
“There are several legends about the European ‘sacred king’ or ‘divine king’ associated with this holiday. The basic idea is that ‘the king and the land are one.’ The king is the representative of the people and the God, and the land is the Goddess. At Beltane, they join in order to create the fruits of the harvest, and at Lammas, the king/God dies in order to feed the people and start the cycle of rebirth.”~ Thea Sabin in Wicca for Beginners: Fundamentals of Philosophy & Practice
4 Ways to Celebrate Lughnasadh
Celebrating Lughnasadh/Lammas can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. Like all pagan holidays, it is what you make of it because our spirituality is so personal to us. Even if you are part of a coven, you may have beliefs that are separate from those of your coven. And that’s A-OK, because it makes you a unique witch.
Decorate Your Altar
Decorating your altar for holidays and sabbats always seems like a given, which is why I put it first. To get it outta the way. Things that symbolize fall, (or pumpkin spice season, whichever you prefer to call it) are the ideal items for your altar. Things like:
- leaf garlands in fall colors
- Green and gold candles to signify the Earth Mother
- sun God statues
- God and Goddess statues that represent the harvest in your pantheon
Or, you could be a lazy altar keeper like me and maybe just add one small item and call it decorated (oops! I’ve been caught).
Bake Bread from Scratch
Hope over to Pinterest and find a recipe for some made from scratch bread. Something that doesn’t require a breadmaker that you’re only going to use once year. Make a ritual of making the bread too. Spend time hand kneading gratitude for what you have and intentions for a fruitful end of the year into the dough. Use some Kitchen Witch magick to make your bread into a spell so that it will affect all who eat it. (Yes, I’m assuming it will come out edible!)
Have a Dinner Party
Invite some friends over and when they ask you what the occasion is, tell them that you want to just thank them for being your friend (sappy, I know, but I hope it’s true). Have a fall harvest festival all of your own. Your friends don’t have to know that this is your way of wishing them well for the rest of the year, unless you have witchy friends. But even having a bigger than normal family dinner could work. Don’t forget to serve the bread that you made too!
The Incognito Way: Get Dressed
Yes, put clothes on. Simple. Choose clothes in tones of fall.. yellow, orange, gold and brown. If people ask why you’re dressed for fall and it’s still summer out (because it’s been a super hot summer), tell them that your trying to convince fall to overpower summer (I like to be goofy). But this can be a simple way for you to celebrate the festival without having to go all out or do anything that would make people think twice if you’re not out of the broom closet yet.