August 6 is a very special date in Ireland as Lughnasad is celebrated.
This is the celebration of the harvest in honor of the god Lug. In the old days this feast summoned all the people of towns and villages and the first bread of the annual wheat harvest was baked. On this date, games and competitions are held and new seeds are collected for prosperity when winter approaches.
Nowadays, during the first week of August it is common in many Irish towns to celebrate festivals of different kinds in memory of the ancient tradition of their ancestors.
The god Lug (in Irish, and Lugus in Welsh) was a warrior god whose qualities and gifts are the same as those of Mercury for the Romans, Hermes for the Greeks and Thoth for the Egyptians.
There are three original Lughnasa events that still survive to this day in Ireland:
The custom of hill and mountain climbing at Lughnasa has survived in many areas around Ireland and the most famous is probably in Croagh Patrick, where the Reek Sunday climb on the last Sunday in July to the summit has been reformed as a Christian pilgrimage.
The famous Puck Fair, known as Ireland's oldest fair and held in Killorglin for three days from August 10, is believed to have its roots in Lughnasa. The goat is believed to have been a pagan symbol of fertility.
Each year, a group of people go up into the mountains and capture a wild goat, bring it back to town and the "Queen of Puck", traditionally a young schoolgirl from one of the local primary schools, crowns the goat "King Puck" and the festivities begin.
The Craggaunowen open-air museum in Co. Clare hosts an annual Lughnasa festival that enacts elements of Ireland's history and heritage. It spans from the Bronze Age, through the Iron Age, from the medieval period to the 16th century.
The festival takes place in early August and includes displays of replica clothing, artifacts, jewelry and weapons. Showcase events feature the Brehon Law Trials and a glimpse of how life was lived in a Crannóg.
Lughnasa, of course, was also made famous by the reference in Brian Friel's play Dancing at Lughnasa, a movie of the same name with Michael Gambon and Meryl Streep.
Away from the harvest festivities, there are also other events to enjoy in August in the country. Summer in Ireland is brutal, and if there's one festival that exudes joy and good vibes, it's Body Soul. This annual music and art event brings with it a magical atmosphere that you are sure to enjoy. Something like a mix between hippie, indie and liberal.
Offers 365 brings you all the discount catalogs of the best stores in Ireland. If you visit this wonderful country in summer, you can enjoy a variety of festivities that will surely make you come back. There is much to see and much to do.
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