a recording of this lecture will be available to ticket holders for two weeks after the event
The major British and Irish festival that brought in the opening of the autumn season, with the grain harvest, was known in Ireland as Lughnasadh, in Wales as Gwyl Aust, and in England as Lammas, the Loaf-mass. The talk this evening looks at its history, in those three nations and in Scotland, and at its wider context, as a possible ancient pan-Celtic festival. It considers the feast’s associations with deities, and its customs in different places, and at the way in which it has developed and altered over time. It then goes on to look at the customs surrounding the grain harvest itself, with its ceremonies of reaping the fields and of the cutting of the last sheaf, and at the celebrations that followed the conclusion of it.
Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.