Lughnasa Day 2020 is on Saturday, August 1, 2020: samhain, imbolc, beltane, and lughnasa?
Saturday, August 1, 2020 is Lughnasa Day 2020. Lughnasadh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia fields at Lughnasadh.
The four holidays you list are termed the cross-quarter days. They use to fall on the mid-point of each season. Changes in calendars have caused them to drift a bit off the mark, but many still celebrate on the old traditional dates.
Samhain is the mid-point of fall. It is the last harvest festival. The emphasis is on feasting and remembrances of those passed. The veil between this world and the next is supposed to be thinnest at this time.
Imbolc is the mid-point of winter. Emphasis on the increase in sunlight. As many goats are having their kids at this time, milk is plentiful, and this celebration focuses on dairy products in the food department. Worship tends toward celebrating the increase of sunlight, and encouraging even more.
Beltane is the mid-point of spring. It is a turning point, where the fertility shifts from feminine (birth, sprouting) to masculine (increase).It is a time when the veil between our world and that of fairie is thinnest. Beltane at midnight was supposed to be the best time to see the residents of that realm.
Lughnasa is the mid-point of summer. It is a combination fertility and harvest festival. The food mostly connected with it is bread. It is a time of encouraging the fruits which haven't ripened to do so, and to celebrate those that have. Another name for Lughnasa is Lammas.
The Tain -in relation to weather/time of day/seasons in the story?
If I recall correctly, Cuchulainn defended Ulster by himself from Samhain to Imbolc - in other words, all winter.
Many of the Irish sagas considered the division between seasons (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasa, Samhain) extremely important. This plays a part in "The Wooing of Emer" (author unknown).
I cannot remember examples involving weather.
Should pagan celebrations begin the day before?
Depends on your tradition. :) If you're trying to follow the Celtic culture and their way of doing things, you may want to use the sunset timing.
"The Wheel of the Year" is actually astrologically-based, however, and the most commonly known dates are the "traditional" dates, from when it was harder to pinpoint the exact degrees of the Sun. The Solstices take place when the Sun hits 00 Cancer or 00 Capricorn according to the Tropical Zodiac, and the Equinoxes are at 00 Aries and 00 Libra. (Zodiac degrees are counted per sign from 00-29.)
The remaining four festivals are often referred to as "cross-quarters," for the reason that they are supposed to fall at the midpoint of the other four. This means Beltaine falls when the Sun reaches 15 Taurus, Lughnasa at 15 Leo, Samhain at 15 Scorpio and Imbolc at 15 Aquarius. These four rarely match up with the "traditional" dates; they're a few days ahead and can change from year to year.