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The Lughnassad Festival

Mac Neill summarizes the pre-Christian rites associated with Lughnasa as follows:

1. A solemn cutting of the first of the corn/grain and the offering of it to the deity at a high place by burying it.

2. A meal of the new food and of bilberries/blueberries of which everyone must partake.

3. The sacrifice of a sacred bull, a feast of its flesh, a ceremony involving its hide, and its replacement by a young bull.

4. A ritual dance play and ritual fight.

5. The installation of a chief God head on the top of the hill and a triumphing over it by Lugh, as impersonated by an actor.

6. A play representing Lugh confining the monster (Balor) personifying famine and blight.

7. A three-day celebration presided over by the brilliant young God or his human representative.

8. A ceremony indicating the celebration is concluded and the chief God is again in his rightful place.


My thoughts on how to perform some of this with kids; The sacrifice of a chocolate cow might work, or one made of marshmallows or cookie batter that gets roasted and eaten. Games like "pin the spear on Lugh" could be played. Sack races and other contests could be organized. Missing here is any mention of Tailtiu/the Earth Mother, for whom Lugh instituted the funeral games in the first place! She needs to be prominently included, of course.


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