Monday, August 1, 2016

The Festival of Lughnasa

Today is the Celtic festival of Lughnasa, which Christine Valters Paintner describes in this blog post: "Lughnasa (pronounced Loo-nassah) is one of the ancient Celtic feasts celebrated on August 1st marking the time of the beginning of the harvest and the gathering in. It is said to honor the Celtic sun-god Lugh who was an ally to the farmer in the struggle for food. With the Summer Solstice six weeks before, you can start to really feel the shortening of the days in August in Ireland. There is a subtle shift in the light and the air that leans towards autumn’s crispness and cooler days.  The energy in the world is changing."

Her blog post describes some of the Celtic ways to celebrate this festival, ways that celebrate some of the first fruits of the autumn harvest.  Celtic Christians in the Hebrides in Scotland have wrapped elements of this festival with the Assumption of Mary on August 15.

I will celebrate by gathering with neighborhood friends.  My spouse will give the child of one set of friends her violin lesson.  Then we will all catch up with each other.  We were last all together in early May, when summer hadn't even started.  And now it's almost over.

In our part of South Florida, we are in the last weeks of summer--not in terms of weather, as it will be hot for months to come.  Our light hasn't changed significantly--sunrise is only 18 minutes later now than it was at the summer solstice.  But teachers in our public schools will be reporting to school in two weeks, students in three.

Our church does the same thing throughout summer as we do the rest of the year, so we don't have a fall schedule to launch.  We've wrapped our Sunday School into our middle worship service, so we don't have a Rally Day to welcome Sunday School kids back to a routine.  But we do bless the teachers and then the next week, we bless students and their backpacks.

My day to day life won't change as radically in the next few weeks as will the lives of students and my friends who teach in the public schools.  Still, I look forward to the changes that August will bring.  July has been a tougher month than I expected--I've been nursing a back that has launched into spasms at the slightest move, plus we've had lots of workers at the house to finish various projects.

Today my back is better, and the home repair projects are almost done.  I look forward to what August has in store.

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