Being Pagan is difficult. Sure there’s discrimination, nasty comments, and the like, but you also have to figure out when to celebrate your holidays. Christians have it easy; the calendar is designed around their holy days, church happens every Sunday. But for Pagans it’s a bit more difficult. Astronomers have been kind enough to track the solstices and equinoxes for us and make those dates readily available, but when it comes to the cross-quarter days, we’re on our own.
When Christians began incorporating pagan holy days into their own calendar, many pagans simply followed along. Today, many celebrate Lughnasad on August 1st, in conjunction with the Christian ceremony Lammas. Or sometimes Pagans will celebrate on July 31st, August Eve. I’ve never taken to either date, because Augustus was a Roman Emperor and I’m not from one of the traditions which celebrates Saturnalia or other holy days associated with the Roman Pantheon.
The actual midpoint between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox is August 5th. That is the date I prefer and I’ve been calculating that midpoint and celebrating then since I was a child. Others might wait to celebrate until the full moon on August 7th, still more might incorporate the Perseid Meteor Shower, August 11th thru 13th, into their celebrations. Then there are those whose celebrations must wait for whatever day their employer will let them have off.
For the ancient Celts, Lughnasad was a month long celebration corresponding with the Hazel Moon, which runs from July 22nd to August 20th this year. From my experiences living in an agrarian community, I presume this is because this is a time of relative inactivity. The first cutting of hay is in, the garden is finally producing well, the cereal crops are ripe so fresh bread can be made from the new crop, but harvest has not begun in earnest yet. So, whenever you celebrate Lughnasad, I hope your celebration is a happy one.