Saturday, 1 August 2015

The End before the Beginning

The 1st August is the Celtic festival of Lughnasash, anglicised to Lammas. Midway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox, it traditionally marked the start of the harvest season.
Lughnasash is the festival of Lugh or Lugus, a Celtic solar god or dying-and-rising god, who represents the eternally transient nature of plant life and all living things. In August, his life comes into fruition. Grains are harvested, seeds are set, and the future of next year is assured.
Lammas was marked with festivities until the 20th century, in some places reinstated, which not only were intended to provide an auspicious start for the harvest, but provided a last chance for fun before the all-out slog began.
Mummers' plays were often performed: amateur performances handed down for generations to each successive set of performers. These bear resemblance to the earlier Celtic traditions, which suggests their origin may be thousands of years in the past. The First World War brought an end to many of these traditions.
And so harvest began. Next stop, the Harvest Home.

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