In Irish legend there are only four documented feast days: Samain, Imbolc, Beltain, and Lughnasadh or Brón Trogain, as it is called in Tochmar Emire (Wooing of Emir.) As a result many folks who identify as Celtic Reconstructionists of the Irish persuasion only celebrate those four days as their annual religious cycle. However, neolithic sites, folklore, and evidence in other Indoeuropean cultures show that something could have been going on at other times of the year and just not mentioned by the monks who wrote down the Tochmar Emire. Further, being a modern religion there is no reason why groups or individuals can’t have feasts and festivals specific to their religious practice. What follows are a few examples of feasts and festivals folks in the CR community have added to their ritual year with links so you can do further research.
March 25 – Latha na Cailliche: While the festival is Scottish in origin there is no reason why followers of Gentlidecht can’t also make offerings to her as she is found in Ireland as Cailleach Beara. Being a goddess associated with the winter and storms it may not be a bad idea. Brian Walsh goes into some detail on his blog.
June 17 – Hero-Feast of Suibhne Geilt: Another feast day promoted by PSVL this one is for the legendary Irish king who was afflicted by the curse of a saint (one called Rónán), went mad as the result of being adversely affected by the spirits of battle, and then lived in the wilderness for many years, taking on bird-like characteristics, and occasionally uttering inspired nature poetry.
June 25 (or Summer Solstice) – Midummer, Paying Rent to Manannan and Lá Fhéile Oirbsen (Law Ayluh Oribsheen) are all terms that can be applied to a holiday that many Irish polytheist have taken on to honor Manannan Mac Lir. The practice comes from the June 25th Manx tradition of paying rent (in the form of rushes) to the first king of the Island so that he does not allow the sea to rise up and swallow the land. Many examples of rent paying rituals can be found with a simple search.
September 20 (or Fall Equinox) – Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha (Law Ayluh Ow-wen-uch-ah) or the Festival of the Rivers. This is a festival day I devised to give thanks to the local land goddesses during the harvest season. Just as the Boyne and Shannon are goddesses in Ireland, the rivers in North America are goddesses and we should thank them for the life they bring to our land.
Varied Sept – Nov – Hero-Feast of Finn mac Cumhaill: The third Irish hero feast proposed by PSVL’s blog. Now my placement and reason for this feast do vary from PSVL, and I expect to do a post about it in the future in some detail. For now though, I place what I will be calling Lá Fhéile Finn mac Cumhaill around the start of deer hunting season in hopes for a good hunt.
Decmber 13 – Lá Fhéile Badhbh: This feast is celebrated by Faoladh who has yet to fully explain it other than to say “it’s got to do with werewolves.”
In addition to the major feast days of, Oíche Shamhna (Eekhuh Hownuh), Lá Fhéile Bhríd (Law Ayluh Vreedj), Lá Bealtaine (Law Byaltinyuh), and Lá Lúnasa (Law Loonuhsuh), and any monthly feasts held, genti could have a busy year of festivities that would be the envy of any other Neopagan religion.
If you are interested in developing feasts and holidays of your own, I encourage you to read the books listed below to get started.
Danaher, K. (1972). The Year in Ireland: Irish Calendar Customs. Dublin: Mercier Press.
Ó Súilleábhain, S. (1977). Irish Folk Custom and Belief. Cork: Mercier Press.