Irish games featured at pagan harvest festival

Sunday, August 8, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:59 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wearing a kilt, a green T-shirt and sunglasses, Robert Brummel used his hand-carved staff to push a white laundry basket worth two points back into place. At the end of the stone-throwing competition, he received third place after two tie breakers.

Brummel and more than 40 others attended the Lughnasadh (Lu-na-sa) celebration hosted by Hearthfires, a Mid-Missouri Pagan fellowship, at Nifong Park Saturday. Festivities included stone throwing, pole jumping, crab crawling, log hurling and drumming.

Lughnasadh is the ancient Celtic festival that celebrates the first products of the harvests.

"We do this to raise public awareness," Brummel said. "We play traditional Irish games. Traditional, with the exception of the Fun Noodle."

During the stone throwing, the Fun Noodle, a flotation device in the shape of noodle, was used as a line to stand behind. Later, it was used as the pole for the pole jumping competition.

The facilitator of Hearthfires, Steven Galbreath, tried to win the pole jumping by diving over the pole and rolling in the grass on the other side. He received second place.

"A lot of our pagan traditions come from the Celtic world," Galbreath said. "Lughnasadh is the festival celebrating Lugh, one of the Celtic sun gods."

Galbreath said the festival is a much more public event. "We usually have formal ceremonies and rituals," he said. Galbreath attributes the increase in Hearthfire membership to more public outings such as Lughnasadh.

Dana Callahan, pagan for six years, was helping attendees mix and bottle oils to take home with them. "This festival is basically the breaking of the bread," Callahan said.

Along with the festivities, Hearthfires took in donations for Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry and Second Chance, a no-kill animal shelter.

"We brought in over 200 pounds of food last year," Callahan said. She said she hopes this year will be as bountiful as the last.

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