1st August


Beginning of the harvest season, halfway between solstice and equinox. Named after the Irish god of light, Lugh, they originally include the Tailteann Games, in honour of Lugh’s mother Tailtiu who died of exhaustion after clearing the Irish plains for agriculture (maybe symbolising how the earth goddess dies back from here on in the year). Games included the long jump, high jump, running, hurling, spear throwing, boxing, contests in swordfighting, archery, wrestling, swimming, and chariot and horse racing, as well as craft competitions for storytellers, jewellers, etc.

It is traditional to eat bilberries on this day, and to climb a hill or visit a holy well.

It was the day you baked a loaf from the fresh wheat harvest and brought it to church to be blessed and then broken into four pieces, for the four corners of the barn, to protect the grain.



We also made a corn dolly from long grass and lavender.

Australian Picnic Day (2016, first Monday in August, after Chinese labourers working on the railway were freed from their contracts and offered citizenship as well as money to return to Hong Kong. They went for a picnic.)

Swiss National Day

Also today:

  • 1759 Joseph Priestley publishes discovery of oxygen – my kids love this experiment.
  • 1984 the Lindow Man discovered
  • Carribean Carnival celebrates end of slavery in British Empire – so do some calypso dancing; Anguilla/Barbados/Bermuda/Guyana/Jamaica/Trinidad and Tobago/British Virgin Islands/St Lucia Emancipation Days
  • Iceland Commerce Day – see 17th June
  • Benin Independence Day (from France, 1960) – see 10th January
  • Colorado Statehood Day (famous for rodeos and inventing cheeseburgers)
  • Yorkshire Day (definitely a day for tea and Yorkshire puddings)