e-Lughnasadh 2020

Welcome to Lughnasadh, a new harvest festival we are celebrating online to keep us connected with you our community over the Summer.

Our volunteers have been busy putting together videos, poems, paintings and games that draw out elements of the Celtic holiday Lughnasadh for a digital celebration.

We’ll release one project each day between Saturday 1st – Friday 7th August – everything will be broadcast on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or you can view it all collected together here on our website.

Many of our volunteers have been trying out new skills (and software) very much in the spirit of Lugh, so you’ll hear from each of them about their experiences creating this festival too.

And if you’d like to celebrate Lughnasadh offline, we’ve put together a list of suggested rituals with a downloadable PDF that you can print and take with you into the outdoors.

An animated history of Lughnasadh

In Irish folklore, the Goddess Tailtiu was believed to have cleared the forests of Ireland for agriculture, eventually dying of exhaustion as she worked in the fields. Chapter One tells of the origins of Lughnasadh, with the life of Tailtiu, foster mother to Lugh.

I love using calligraphic linework in my animations, typically drawing abstract and free-flowing shapes. For this project, I fell into a figurative style and took a slow approach to the rhythm and pacing of the chapter.

– Dima Nowarah

Lugh mourns the loss of his foster mother Tailtiu, and he decides to hold a celebration in her honour. The harvest is brought in, athletic contests are held, and music fills the air at Lugh’s funeral games, which have passed through the generations to become the festival known as Lughnasadh.

This is my second ever animation, completely hand-drawn, using 240 pieces of paper (I’m sorry trees! they will be recycled), and many hours of editing. It blends my graphic drawing style with the flowing symbolism of animation transitions. I’m still learning this process and I want to improve, but I’m happy with where these 55 seconds ended up!

Katrin Blackwater

This trilogy of animations concludes with a story about Lugh himself, and how the God of Skills and Craft wound up on the court of King Nuada. The creator of this chapter, Emy, was inspired by classic animations from history and her own childhood, and wanted to capture that ‘storybook’ feel in her retelling here.

This project was a huge learning experience for me – definitely one to make Lugh proud. This is my third animation, and while I can see where I’d want to improve, I’m proud of pushing through so many skill barriers to bring this project into existence. This project is a first for me for background paintings, use of music and sound, and the largest cast of characters by a multiple of 3 or 4.

Emy Clemence

Seasonal Transitions in the Light of Lughnasadh

Autumn exists in a liminal space between seasons, embodying that transition from Summer to Winter that we as a community mark each year at our fire festivals. For Lughnasadh, we want to acknowledge this period of change and what comes with it. 

Our volunteer Lumi has explored the autumnal shift and the new experiences that it brings with it in a stunning watercolour, which you can watch come to being in this time-lapse. 

There are no mistakes when painting with watercolour paints, just new experiences and life is pretty much just like that.

Lumi Mak (creator)

Five Lyrics for Lughnasadh

Friends, poetry, games and bread – this four-part film-montage and verse gives you a whistlestop tour through the key aspects of Lughnasadh, diving into its history and its ties to the field before giving you a glimpse of modern celebrations. The fifth part is a cookery show, where you’ll learn to bake your own tasty struan.

Imagine Paul Wright’s mesmerising Arcadia, only made by a random Beltaner on a limited time frame and with zero budget. Although Arcadia doesn’t have any recipes at all, so it beats it on that score.

Neil Rhind (creator)


Competitions and games are one core of element of Lughnasadh, which we’re celebrating in a slightly different fashion this week! Meet our Celtic-flavoured Dungeons & Dungeons campaign, inspired by authentic lore with a few fantastical twists. 

Use the button below to download the campaign PDF.

I will get cats and flumphs in this game even if it’s the last thing I do! 

Lumi Mak (co-creator)

Lughnasadh Ritual

This is a ritual for Lughnasadh; time put aside to celebrate the harvest festival and the waning of the year, and to give thanks for one’s skills. The film was created to dramatise this personal ritual and offer a glimpse into the magic of craft.

Try this personal ritual yourself at home with our accompanying guide. Use the button below to download the instructions.

For those of us who dance and spin and scream twice a year on Calton Hill, marking the seasonal transitions with fire and drums and garbed in paint and bones, the magic is loud and heady like smoke and whisky. But for some, the magic is quiet; a harvest celebrated with bread and blueberries, an equinox spent weaving wool or stroking a dog by a beach fire, listening to the quiet pull of the ocean and the moon. This quiet magic gently guides us back to ourselves, with the lighting of a candle and the tinkle of a bell, as a ritual begins.


Chì mi na Mòrbheanna

The music ensemble Rudegein Eile remotely perform “Chì mi na Mòrbheanna”, a Gaelic song about home and homecoming that has become a staple at our fire festivals. A rough scratch track was made, and then each of the ensemble recorded themselves singing along to it, adding as many harmony lines and instrumentals as they could to create the effect of a full choir. These recordings were layered together to create a full track.

You can enjoy the song with this kaleidoscopic video by Eleanor Buffam, which gives a multi-coloured view of the vegetable plants in her garden.

During this time of social isolation, we’ve all missed the creative outlet and community that arises from singing together, so finding ways to safely collaborate on a musical project has been incredibly uplifting and exciting. Gaelic language revitalisation is also at the heart of what we’re doing and it’s wonderful to share a song that has in recent years become so well known in the BFS community; although we’ll miss hearing everyone join in with us, it’s heartening to imagine people singing along to the Gaelic at home.

alice dillon (singer)

Leaving Edinburgh

A love song to Edinburgh, written and sung in Gaelic by our volunteer Adam Dahmer.

Follow this link for a full transcript of the Gaelic lyrics, and their English translation.