I THOUGHT it might be fun to show everyone how I create a painting- from concept to signing. It's really fun. I am very organized; I have binders and binders of ideas and starts of projects, and that is where I generally begin. But not always. Point in case – this week's painting. I wanted something different for my August recipe greeting card that I will have ready for my Nadi's Table event on August 1st, where I serve the recipe to anyone that wants to try it.
SO WHAT is celebrated in August? Nothing makes me happier than to search for info on the internet! I learned that August is National Golf Month, National Picnic Month, and Romance Awareness Month. We celebrate the birth of the internet on August 1: Vertumnalia, the festival of Vertumnus, the Roman god of seasons, gardens and orchards, is celebrated on August 13th (which is also Blame Someone Else Day). We have Ice Cream Sandwich Day, Toasted Marshmallow Day, Pony Express Day and, my favorite, Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night (August 8).
BUT WHEN I read about Lughnasadh (pronounced LOO-na-sa), the Celtic festival of the first harvest, I knew I had my painting – and my recipe.
LUGHNASADH is the gaelic word for August and is named for Lugh, the Irish sun god, who is associated with the raven, light, and agricultural fertility. On August 1st, Lugh celebrated the death of his foster-mother Tailtiu, the last queen of the Fir Bolg. Tailtiu died from exhaustion after being forced, by her enemy, to clear a forest for planting. Festivities centered around the grain harvest, which was needed to get the tribe through the winter months.
FARM FOLK picked the first wild blueberries, and sang when the crop was abundant, for a good berry crop meant a good wheat crop. There was dancing in the field, and sometimes a wagonwheel was set on fire and rolled down a hill. It was the day for handfasted marriages, where a couple could marry for a year and a day, until next Lughnasadh, when they would either commit or stand back to back and walk away to dissolve the marriage. People gathered to exchange news and settle disputes, to sell wares, to tell stories, and to compete in games and horse races. There was great feasting, with the baking of bread an important ritual.
TODAY, Lughnasadh reminds us of the importance of belonging to a community, of working and playing together, of achieving success through group effort. It is a time to share your bounty with those less fortunate and to help friends and neighbors. It is a time to let go of things no longer fruitful in your life and open up to the bounty of things to come.
TOMORROW I will show you how I get started.
'Til then – Nadi