Lughnasadh

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Northern Hemisphere: 1 August

Lughnasadh (Old Irish, pronounced [luɣnəsəð]; Modern Irish Lá Lúnasa; Modern Gaelic Lùnastal) is a traditional Gaelic holiday celebrated on 1 August. It is in origin a harvest festival, corresponding to Anglo-Saxon Lammas.

Contents

Name

In Old Irish, the name of the festival has at various points in time been written Lughnasa, Lughnasad or Lughnassadh.

In Modern Irish (Gaeilge), the name for the month of August is Lúnasa, with the festival itself being called Lá Lúnasa ("the day of Lúnasa").[1][2]

In Modern Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig), the festival and the month are both called Lùnastal.[3]

In Welsh (Cymraeg), the day is known as Calan Awst, an originally Latin term.[4]

History

Irish mythology

In Irish mythology, the Lughnasadh festival is said to have been begun by the god Lugh, as a funeral feast and games commemorating his foster-mother, Tailtiu, who died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. The first location of the Áenach Tailteann gathering was at Telltown, located between Navan and Kells. Historically, the Áenach Tailteann was a time for contests of strength and skill, and a favored time for contracting marriages and winter lodgings. A peace was declared at the festival, and religious celebrations were also held. The festival survived as the Taillten Fair, and was revived for a period in the twentieth century as the Telltown Games.[5][6]

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