August 1st. In order following our calendary, the thirth of the festivals that celts developed over the months: being Inbolc (february), beltane (may the first), lughnasadh and Samhain (october). This is the festival for the harvest taken from the Iron Age to our present through all these unofficial and mythological books of Invasions.
Leabhar Ghabhála Érenn and irish mythology talks about the god Lugh (one of the Tuatha dé Dannan) setting up a commemorative funeral for his mother Taultiu through games and feast. The games, Tailteann games, included challenges like jumps, running, wrestling, archery, fencing and swordfighting, swimming, riding, but not only physical one competitions, including too dancing, singing, storytelling and winning strategy contests. Even there existed specific challenges for craftsmen like smiths, jewellers and goldsmiths, armourers, weavers, wood carvers and so. Obviously, having Lugh another name as Samhildánach (Equally skilled in many arts), it’s not a surprise that multiple arts and abilities were to be tested.
Lugh had another name, Samhildánach that means: equally skilled in many arts
For me, one of the more interesting things about this festival is that mass marriages were arranged and sealed in this day, and the couples have one year an a day to divorce on a place called the Hills of Separation. Mass marriages take to my mind another pagan festival called Lupercalia (Lupercales), were the romans vesting in goatskins had sex after lashing youg women (and men) in some kind of fertility ritual. Linked with Samhain (another pagan festival associated with fertility) there exist a lot of paralell concepts.
Lugh whose name was used for Lugones (Asturias, Spain), Lugo (Galicia, Spain), León (Spain), for Lugdunum (Lyon, France), Laon (France), Luguvalium (modern Carlisle, England), Loudoun (Scotland), Leiden (Netherlands) and many other places. In future posts we will talk about this amazing Tuatha dé Dannan and his correspondences with Loki.
The featured image is the Spear of Lugh in the middle of a melee, by H. R. Millar, 1905.