Gathering Day

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Gathering Day is a Welsh festival of the summer solstice, so called because it was the time when druids gathered mistletoe and other plants for use in winter.[1] The energy of plants harvested at Midsummer was believed to be very potent, hence herbs were collected then for medicinal use; these herbs included mugwort and vervain.

This festival marks the first of the three harvests of the year and the time for collecting young tender vegetables such as peas, beans and early fruits. It is also the time for the collection of honey.[2]

Historical references[edit]

  • In August 1402, the Gathering Day festival had to be postponed till September when Henry IV faced a threat of invasion of the North from the Duke of Albany and the Earl of Douglas with a large army of Scots.[3]
  • It is believed that till 1917 the town of Killorglin in Kerry followed the tradition of the puck or he-goat which was collected by the youth of the town, coronated as king, put on display for three days and then paraded in the town.[4][5] The goat's reputation as a randy creature may hint at the licentious behavior common during this festival. Although believed by locals to be a very ancient festival, experts believe that it cannot be more than 300 years old due to the usage of the term puck and the goat's lack of symbolic significance in Celtic culture.[5]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Edain McCoy (1994). The Sabbats: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways. Llewellyn Worldwide. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-56718-663-5. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Vikki Bramshaw (30 November 2009). Craft of the Wise: A Practical Guide to Paganism and Witchcraft. O Books. p. 249. ISBN 978-1-84694-232-7. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  3. ^ James Hamilton Wylie (1884). History of England Under Henry the Fourth: 1399-1404. Longmans, Green and Co. p. 285. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Chatterbox. American News Company. 1917. p. 139. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Patricia Monaghan (1 January 2009). The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. Infobase Publishing. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-4381-1037-0. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Trefor M. Owen, Welsh Folk Customs, Gomer, Llandysul, 1987
  • Trefor M. Owen, The Customs and Traditions of Wales, University of Wales Press and the Western Mail, Cardiff, 1998
  • Marie Trevelyan, Folk-lore and Folk-stories of Wales, EP Publishing, Wakefield, 1973.