I'm determined this year to actually find the time to celebrate some of the festivals this year. I have a bad habit of forgetting until the last minute, which tends to put a severe crimp on the stuff I get to do. Sadly, I couldn't get Lughnasad off from work this year, or Samhain, so whilst I can start planning now my activity choices are rather limited.
With this Lughnasad falling on a Monday, I'm going to spend the weekend before preparing. My boss has given me permission to make some corn dollies and cornucopias and fill them with treats for the guys, since this can be treated as a non-spiritual, general hrvest festival thing. There isn't, sadly, anywhere nearby that I can purchase wheat stalks, so I'll be using craft straw in bold, Autumnal colours. I plan on making some mini shortbread bites, shaped into moons and stars and other shapes with my little mini icing cutters, iced gingerbread butterfly biscuits, and candied peel dipped in chocolate, all wrapped up in tissue paper and then stuffed in the cornucopias.
I'm hoping one of the cheaper craft shops around will have plain masks for painting, so that I can make a set of Holly King and Oak King masks, and also some decorative wreaths and candle-holders made from gathered leaves, nuts and dried berries.
The roses out by the front of the house are plump with rosehips, so if they are ripe in time I will harvest and candy those as a sweet treat, and with luck the vegetables in the garden will be ready for picking. Yellow and black courgette, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and several kinds of pepper, so I should be able to have a fun time making preserves a tasty roasted vegetable selection for the Sunday before.
My recipes for the favours to go in the cornucopias are:
Candied Orange/Lemon/Lime slices
Candied Peel (I have a plan regarding the fruit peeling method, so that the prepared peel will fall in pretty spirals)
Gingerbread cookies (shaped into butterflies)
Mini Shortbread Bites (shaped into moons and stars and, perhaps, coated in chocolate)
For my neighbours, I plan on making slightly larger cornucopias, with a selection of mini chutney jars, some of the candied peel, slices and rosehips, and with luck some spiced or herbed butter blocks rolled in muslin and tied with decorative raffia, perhaps some freshly baked seed buns.
I'd be interested to know what my fellow Pagans, Wiccans and other harvest celebrators have planned, and how you intend to fit Lughnasad around your working day.