At the cornerstone of ancient Gaelic traditions lay four seasonal festivals, and this year, August 1st marks Lughnasadh. This festival signifies the ending of summer and the beginning of fall, a the start of the harvest season. And just as Lughnasadh has been celebrated for centuries, the symbols used in our handcrafted Celtic jewelry here at Walker Metalsmiths have also been part of Celtic history since ancient times.
A Festival With Deep Roots
Lughnasadh has been celebrated as a Gaelic harvest festival since at least the 15th century. It originally celebrated the Celtic god of light, named Lugh, as well as the mythical Tailtiu, who was rumored to have helped prepare the land of Ireland for crops. Some of the most ancient celebrations included “religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests… feasting, matchmaking, and trading,” according to researchers.
During more modern celebrations of Lughnasadh, people would have actually collected their first round of crops for the harvest season, celebrated with songs and big feasts, and also climbed hills and mountains. Because of the hopefully bountiful harvest, and the ripening fruits, Lughnasadh festivals traditionally have freshly baked breads, cakes, and berries.
Nowadays, Lughnasadh can fall on any date between August 1 and August 12, which is about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. The shift in dates is likely due to the fact that in 1782, Ireland adopted the Gregorian calendar system, which impacted the way the holiday was celebrated.
In Ireland today, many towns hold festivals and fairs for Lughnasadh celebrations. One notable festival today, which historians believe dates back to ancient Lughnasadh celebrations, is The Puck Fair, which is held in Killorglin, County Kerry. Meanwhile, some of the pilgrimages to climb mountains have continued, the most famous of which being the Reek Sunday pilgrimage, where thousands of people summit Croagh Patrick.
There are three other Gaelic seasonal festivals: Samhain in the early winter, Imbolc in February, and Beltane at the beginning of summer.
Walker Metalsmiths and Celtic Traditions
Here at Walker Metalsmiths, Master Craftsman Steven Walker has spent decades studying and training others on the ancient customs and symbolism surrounding Celtic traditions. That is why we are especially proud of our custom designed Celtic jewelry, which is perfect to commemorate Lughnasadh, or any occasion.
Our handcrafted Celtic crosses are some of our favorite pieces. We have extensively studied and documented the history of the Celtic cross, which has been a common symbol since at least the 4th century. Both Presbyterians and Catholics lay claim to the Celtic cross as their own, and there are legends surrounding the Celtic cross which involve St. Patrick himself. We have many designs of women's and men’s celtic necklaces, which are available in sterling silver or 14K Gold.
Other symbols we’ve incorporated into our handcrafted Celtic jewelry pieces include the Claddagh symbol, which we have on rings, pendants, and earrings. We also create our custom jewelry pieces with Celtic knots, birthstones, and zoomorphic symbols made out of Celtic designs. We are also more than happy to work with you to create a custom piece, incorporating these traditional Celtic symbols. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you would like to learn more about our craft, or if you have an idea for a one-of-a-kind piece.
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