The First Harvest
What is Lughnassadh
Lughnassadh (pronounced LOO-nah-sah), or Lammas, is one of the "cross-quarter" holidays (halfway between the summer solstice and the fall equinox). It is generally celebrated on or about August 1st in the Northern Hemisphere (Astrologically speaking, Lammas occurs when the sun is at 15 degrees of Leo, which puts is slightly after August 1st). The wheat is ready for harvest, and we do lots of baking today.
There are a large number of great things to do listed in the many Pagan parenting books in my library, and I'm feeling a little hard-pressed to come up with something original. So I think this year we will be making dolls from harvested materials.
Things to do for Lughnassa
- Bake Bread: This is always fun for children. Playing with the ingredients, getting messy, kneading the dough, punching the dough, measuring, all are great fun for young children.
- Bake cookies: Sun shapes, man shapes. The fun is similar to baking bread, with the added attraction of nibbling on the yummy cookie dough.
- Create some construction paper projects: draw and cut out things we harvest - wheat, vegetables, fruit. Collages with child-made or magazine pictures of these items.
- Harvest some food If your garden is ready for the first harvest, go to it with your child. If you live on a farm, this is a pretty obvious thing to do.
- Celebrate the completion of a project: Is there anything in your family's life that has come to fruition around now? Perhaps the spare room has just been re-done. Your child has finished reading her first book. Camp session is over. Find something to celebrate.
Corn Dolls/Straw Dolls
Working with plant fibers
This project uses leaves and more from corn stalks, straw, reeds or other members of the grass family. There are some things you need to know before trying to work with this material:
- Green: If the leaves are still green, they are supple, bendable and don't neet too much preparation before working with them. However, they will get smelly as they age, so you should think about the ultimate disposition of this project (are you burning it in a ritual? are you keeping it for a year? are you buyring it? will it be a family heirloom for the next 3 generations?)
- Dried: If you are using dried plant material, you will have to soak it in water before you work with it. Soaking in water restores pliability to the plant fibers and they won't break when you bend them. Soak times can be short for corn leaves, or long for reeds and vines.
- Preparing a corn cob: Cut away the corn from a cooked corn cob. If the corn cob has been eaten rather than cut, you may want to cut away the chewed bits to make the surface uniform and smooth. Let the corn cob dry out in the sun or in a low temperature oven. With the weather the way it's been here, leaving it out in the sun for the afternoon should do the trick. Once it is dry and hard, it is ready to be worked.
Make a Corn Doll
Materials Used for this project
- Prepared corn cob
- Leaves from a corn plant, or the husk of the corn
- Ribbon or string (optional), or you can prepare ribbon or string from leaves
- Twigs, sticks or reeds. These do not have to bend, so do not soak them.
- Paint, or markers
- Straight pins or glue (optional)
- Fashion the body and head out of the corn cob. You can carve a human shape or not, as you prefer.
- Cut or fold the husk or broad leaves into a skirt. You will need 4 or so.
- Using 2 sticks or reeds of the same length, stick them into the corn cob where the arms should go.
- Measure 2 more leaves to go over each stick. This is the blouse, shirt or top of the dress.
- Place the skirt around the waist of the doll.
- Tie it all together at the waist. Fasten with any of the following:
- Ribbon or string tied around the skirt.
- Straigt pins
- Paint or draw a face on the doll.
- Use Corn silk or thin leaves for hair.
- Tie the hair on with string, or make a hat out of another husk leaf.