Lughnassadh, pronounced LOO-nahs-ah, is the Celtic Harvest festival, celebrated July 31 or August 1st . A big part of Lughnasadh was the games, similar to the funeral games held at the death of a chief.
Here is an excerpt from Queen of Kings, set in Bronze Age Ireland, when a young queen Macha, about 15, beat all the boys in the chariot race, the horse race, and all the other events.
The druid stood smiling from the contagious zeal and energy of the young girl bounding toward him. Her flame-red braids waved in the wind with her springy gait. Her budding breasts bounced beneath the blue woolen tunic dress and the plaid cloak pinned over it.
Her sweet adolescent face beamed with a bright smile as she called out in a tone breathy from running, “Druid Lasair, I beat all the boys my age.”
But before he could reply, a young warrior, his dark hair stiff and spiked like the mane on a racing horse, called out, “Congratulations, Macha. You drive a chariot almost as well as a boy does.”
She came to an abrupt halt and wheeled around to the young warrior. Macha’s anger crackled in the air around her, and her blue eyes blazed with fury. “I raced better than anyone.” She stepped so close to him her breath could be felt on his face. “And how fast or how well someone does something has nothing to do with their sex.” Her eyes gleamed with mischief. “Here, I’ll show you,” Macha said in a honeyed tone. She
drew her arm back and swung with all her might, ramming her fist into his jaw. He dropped to the ground.
As he lay in the dirt, gazing up at her with a groggy expression on his face, she said, “You see, even though you are a boy, you fell to the ground just as any girl would have. Even though I’m a girl, I put you there just like any boy could have.”
He raised himself up to a seated position. “What did I do?”
“Think about it.” Macha turned around and flashed the druid a bright grin as she walked toward him.
“Yes, I know. You won all the events.” Lasair wrapped his arms around her in a warm, congratulatory hug. When he released her, he pointed his head toward the young warrior, who still sat in the dirt, rubbing his jaw. “Macha, if you bruise all the boys, you may no longer have your pick to choose from for a Beltane partner next spring.”
Lughnassadh is also a great time for romance. For one, it was named after the sun god Lugh, a tall, muscular warrior with sky blue eyes and a hallo of golden light which blazed around his thick flaxen hair. He was also known as Lugh of the long arm because of his magic spear, which never missed its mark. That brings quite an image to mind, doesn’t it. In my Celtic/Erotica/Romane, Timeless Voyage, when my heroine, a Celtic lady pirate captain captures a Roman merchant, he reminds her of Lugh.
Here’s an excerpt from that scene in my Celtic/Erotica/Romance Timeless Voyage: Feeling heat on her neck from someone gazing hard at her, she wheeled around and spotted a shadowy figure. Rushing forward, with a flick of her wrist, she pressed her dagger against the man’s throat. The full moon glowed on her catch. His hair shone like spun sunlight that streamed down a stone smooth face adorned with deep sea-blue eyes. “Lugh, the sun god?”
The earth goddess (Tailtiu in Ireland and Blodeuwedd in Wales) was an important part of Lughnassadh as it celebrates the marriage of the earth to the sky, so hand fasting marriages were celebrated at this time. Also as fruit gathering was part of Lughnassadh, young men and women paired off to pick sweet, ripe bilberries and didn’t return until nightfall.
Here’s an excerpt of that from my latest release, Druid Bride:
Lughnassahd, one of her favorite festivals. She and Brude would pick bilberries together and stay out until dark. He would thread the dark berries they plucked together into a bracelet for her to wear that day. At least, he should. She imagined his lips on hers, pressing down, hot and wet, kissing her beneath the light of the white moon, his mouth and breath tasting of sweet, juicy bilberries. .
That’s the last excerpt for today but some ways you can celebrate Lughnassadh at your home are:
Make a centerpiece of dried wheat sheaves, whole grain breads, acorns, hazel nuts, and grapes.
Get the whole family involved in baking homemade bread.
Say a prayer of thanksgiving for the harvest or the bounty of food you have year round.