Name

Wheat

Latin

Triticum

Secret Meaning

Riches and Prosperity

Alternative Names:

Facts & Folkore:

The early harvest and the threshing of grain has been celebrated for thousands of years. Cultivation and repeated harvesting and sowing of the grains of wild grasses led to the creation of domestic strains, as mutant forms (called 'sports') of wheat were preferentially chosen by farmers for the larger grains and for the seeds to remain better attached to the ear during threshing and harvesting. Cultivation of wheat began to spread beyond the Fertile Crescent after about 8000 BCE. and archaeological analysis of wild emmer wheat indicates that it was first cultivated in the southern Levant, with finds dating back as far as 9600 BCE! One of the first of three Celtic harvest festivals, Lammas (Lughnasadh), marks the beginning of the grain harvests. Historically, it has been widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man on August 1st or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. Lughnasadh is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and has pagan origins. The festival itself is named after the god Lugh. It involved great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests (most notably the Tailteann Games), feasting, matchmaking and trading. There were also visits to holy wells. According to folklorist Máire MacNeill, evidence shows that the religious rites included an offering of the 'first fruits', a feast of the new food and of bilberries, the sacrifice of a bull and a ritual dance-play in which Lugh seizes the harvest for mankind and defeats the powers of blight.

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