Thoughts on Lughnasadh

In just 2 days, we will begin our official descent into winter, by celebrating the first of the three harvest festivals, Lughnasadh, or Lammas, which occurs on August 1, 2014. Autumn is my favourite time of year, and Lughnasadh marks the first official day of it, though we won't see any "official" signs of autumn for another month or so around where I live. But when the trailers full of local corn start wheeling out parking lots, empty street corners, and little green and yellow drive-through sheds, I know that Lughnasadh is only a couple weeks off at best. I save my first taste of our famous, delicious, local corn for August 1, always. And this year is no exception.

This year my step-daughter is not home for Lughnasadh, which is too bad, because we usually make corn dollies together. But with her away visiting her birth mother, I don't feel motivated to make them, so I will hold off until next year. However, I do plan on celebrating! In the early morning my son and I will get together in the kitchen and break out the bread maker, and make a loaf of fresh bread to eat with our supper. Normally, I like to make a loaf of bread by hand, usually a long braided loaf, to honour the first cutting of wheat of the year, but with the current heat wave making our house a balmy 30 degrees Celcius by 1pm, well, I think subjecting my pregnant self, and the rest of my family for that matter, to even hotter temperatures by turning on the oven is just plain torture. So, the modern bread maker it shall be.

I also intend to take a drive down to one of those said empty lot locations that are rich with ripe corn on the cob, as well as other local BC produce to purchase. I think some Okanagan fresh peaches, apples, and other produce shall be purchased that day. Perhaps we'll wrap some cored apples in tin foil, fill them with oatmeal, brown sugar, and spices, and roast them slowly over the barbecue to have for dessert! I definitely wish it was within our power to have a small fire in our backyard, in a brazier of some sort maybe, but unfortunately there is a province-wide fire ban at this point, so I think maybe sitting outside and watching the stars, now that they are beginning to come out noticeably earlier each night, might be in order. 

For me, Lughnasadh is not really a day that I feel ritual is necessary. For me, it is enough to honour the noticeable change in the season, to feast upon the local harvests of my community, and to ponder the changes that are coming over the world, and how those changes affect me, both physically and emotionally. Autumn is the time when I feel the most alive; the stifling heat of summer, which always seems to make me feel like I'm melting, is finally fading, the colours are changing and making the world appear as if it is on fire, and the sun begins to have less and less of an affect on our daily lives, as it rises later, and sets sooner. The colours of fire remind me that fire is cleansing, it is changing, it transforms and destroys. But it also heralds new life, fresh starts, and new beginnings, just as we shall see six months hence, when the earth which has endured it's wintery transformation, springs anew and fresh, and delicate green shoots begin to cover the earth once again. 

What does Lughnasadh mean to you? How do you celebrate this first of the three harvest festivals? Does this season herald a joyful change for you, or do you mourn the passing of summer? 


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