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Lammas/Lughnassadh

Lammas/Lughnassadh In my continuing series on misappropriated pagan holidays, Happy Lammas, the Catholic version of Lughnassadh, roughly translated from the Language of Superfluous Letters That May or May Not Have Any Relation to the Sound They Make, a.k.a. Irish, as "The Murder of Lugh," (pronounced, depending on what pagan you're talking to or which county in Ireland you're from, as ['lu.na.sa].

The short version of the history behind this particular holiday has to do with the changing of the seasons from summer to fall (as this is the midpoint of summer - the astrological equivalent of 15 degrees Leo, which is directly between the summer solstice (0 degrees Cancer) and the autumnal equinox (0 degrees Libra). That's about as far into it as I get, because I'm a Virgo, and I like numbers and facts and things that I can make lists of. However, the Celtic legend is the story of Lugh (or Llew, in welsh), which is about all I can say about that, since I'm not a celtic-style pagan. I also haven't got a clue what the Catholic version of the holiday entails. But that's the mathematics of it.

A subject with which I am a bit more familiar, however, is this holiday's equivalent in Taoism, which is the day on the Solar calendar known as Li Qiu (??), or the beginning of Fall. The Chinese calendar reckons seasons one step back from the western way of thinking, in that the beginning of fall is at lughnassadh and the autumnal equinox is then considered the middle of fall. Samhain, equivalently, is considered the beginning of winter, and I think at least those Minnesotans among us can confirm that winter does not hold off until December 21st.

The Chinese Solar calendar is divided up into essentially 24 sections of approximately 15 days each. Every third section is what we western pagans might consider one of the quarters or cross-quarters, although the Chinese have traditionally been a lot more specific/obsessive-compulsive about their actual dates, and they quite cleanly and neatly correspond to every 5th degree of the Earth's path around the sun. Therefore, while we might say that Imbolc/Candlemas falls on February 2nd, Li Chun (??) actually falls on the mathematical midpoint of Aquarius, which is usually around the 4th, give or take a day; Samhain we tend to celebrate on October 31st, but the crossquarter is generally November 7th; etc.

On another note, Happy Birthday, Grandma!