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Shrine Approach 2003
Shrine Approach, Lammas 2003


Lammas is the Christian festival of the ‘Start of the harvest’. Traditionally, the communion bread at Lammas is baked from the first harvested wheat or barley, the festival originally being known as “Loaf Mass”.
This festival was not celebrated by Angles, Saxons or Romans, but was an important time in the Celtic calendar. The Celts called the festival “Lughnasa”, meaning “Festival of Lugh”, after the Celtic god of agriculture.
The Celts apparently only celebrated the start of their harvest, having no equivalent to our modern harvest festival.

The historical evidence for the nature of the Lughnasa festival comes mainly from Ireland, where people still gather for traditional Lughnasa dancing. As with all Celtic festivals, Lughnasa was apparently celebrated by the lighting of huge fires.
Lugh was honoured as the god who gave the knowledge of agriculture to the Celts. His rites and myths apparently embodied the entire agricultural calendar. There was a period of Celtic civilisation prior to agriculture, in which, it seems, Lugh was absent. As the cult of Lugh spread westwards across Europe, so agriculture came with it. There is archaeological evidence that Lugh (in some form) was worshipped by Celtic tribes right across Europe. Here we can see very clearly a link between myths, beliefs, rites, and way of life.
It is tempting to generalise this link between a culture’s way of life and its religious practices, and many anthropologists, beginning with Emile Durkheim, have tried to explain great religions like Hinduism and Taoism in these terms … but the outcome has been that such direct links are the exception, rather than the rule.

Shrine Approach 2003
Shrine Approach, Lammas 2003
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