August 1st marks the half-way point between the Summer Solstice and the Autumnal Equinox. It is at the same time the ending of summer and the beginning of the onset of autumn. Some people call August 1st a “cross-quarter day”.
In many areas of the northern hemisphere, it is the beginning of the harvest of crops that have been grown for winter preservation and storage.
Today is a good day for an offering of thanks for the bounty Mother Earth provides.
Now the corn begins to ripen. In indigenous North America, this event is celebrated as the “Green Corn Ceremony”.
In the Northeastern United States, this is often the time of the blueberry harvest, while in the Pacific Northwest the blackberries are often the festival fruit.
In Celtic European and Celtic European-American cultures, the August 1st cross-quarter day is known by various names. Lughnasadh (or Lughnasa) is a Gaelic word referring to an assembly in honor of the god Lugh. The festival is also called: Lúnasa (Modern Irish), Lùnastal (Scottish Gaelic), Luanistyn (Manx Gaelic).
In Gaelic Ireland, Lughnasadh was a favored time for handfastings — trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or later formalizing it as a more permanent marriage.
Celebrations include the offering of firstfruits, bonfires, feasting, and handfasting.