Some other names for this High Day are Aedrinia (Gaulish), Laa Luanistyn or Laa Luanys (Manx), Lughnasadh or Lúnasa (Modern Irish), Lúnasdain, Lúnasdal or Lunasduinn (Scottish Gaelic), Calan Awst (Welsh). Also Lammas and Michaelmas (Christian, in Scotland on September 29).

In Celtic culture, Lughnasadh (“Loo-nahs-ahg”) is the feast of the god Lugh. Celebrated on August 1, Lughnasadh was sometimes referred to as the nasad, or games, of Lugh, son of Ethle in the Scottish Highlands. An early Irish tradition has it that Lugh established the festival in honor of his foster-mother Tailtiu, a close relationship in the Celtic custom. In Ireland, Lugh also is referred to as Lugh of the Long Hand. An Irish myth tells of the greedy Fomorian Earth-spirits that must be persuaded to relinquish the fruits of the soil to humans. In some Germanic folk traditions in England, the “Corn King” dies, to be later reborn, so that the tribe may go into the winter months with sustenance plenty.


  • English folk tradition, a mix of Celtic and Germanic influences, tells of farmers cutting down the first stalks of corn with sickles and calling these stalks John Barleycorn. This first grain is used to produce the first beer of the season, for consumption at the Autumnal Equinox six weeks later.
  • In Wicca, the Horned One is thought to be the consort of the Earth Goddess.
  • Some harvest festivals usually included a Stag Dance in which men wore antlers on their heads.