by Chris LaFond
Lunasdal always feels to me like one of the most community focused celebrations of the year. Though my heart always longs for the deep, quiet, cold of winter, there’s no denying the appeal of a food festival. And the best time to do that is when the food is ripe!
This ancient festival, observed by ancient Celts and other peoples of northern Europe, celebrates the first fruits of the season. Obviously, in New England, we have harvested a lot before this season: leafy greens, peas, radishes, fiddle heads, roots, asparagus, and so forth. But it’s now, as the summer turns from its height and begins to wane, that we gather the foods that will nourish us through the fall and winter months ahead.
Food & Community
Wheat and grains come into harvest season in late July, as well as fruits and vegetables that are appropriate for preservation: zucchini, tomatoes, squashes, corn, and so forth. This is what we celebrate as we gather to mark the turning of the season once again.
The community aspect of Lunasdal is also of prime importance. As with many indigenous communities throughout the world, the light half of the year is when the Celtic tribes would come together for all sorts of business. Of course, this would vary from place to place, but often this was a time for tribal members to intermarry, cementing political alliances outside of the tribe and strengthening the stability of the region.
Games and competitions were another common practice. These “pagan olympics” can still be perceived in modern day highland festivals which feature competitions and feats of strength.
About fifty members of EarthSpirit and guests gathered at Glenwood Farm on the first weekend of August to celebrate the season. We observed the transformation of the Green Man into a baked loaf; we made offerings to the Stones in the stone circle; the children presented seeds, roots, and leaves as a reminder of the many levels that go into growing the food that nourishes us.
Following the ritual, we shared of our own first harvests and enjoyed the perfect summer day.