In Ireland, Lughnasadh was a 3-day calendar event with 6 days of festival on either side. The occasion was in honour of the sun god associated with the lynx and the holly club. The calendar event occurs while the sun is in the house of Leo (lynx) of the zodiac calendar. The month of Tinne (Holly), the bisexual tree, has just ended and Coll (hazel) perfection is just beginning in the tree calendar. The festival also marks the beginning of autumn (Foghmhar).
A larger than usual needfire was lit on the highest hill and the night was passed in fasting and keeping a quiet vigil for the first rays of the sun god. As soon as the sun god appeared, "First Sacrifices" were made, to show appreciation for the blessings that the sun god and the earth goddesses had bestowed on the people.
Lughnasadh was also a commemoration of Lugh himself, a harvest festival and a cattle and horse fair, with chariot races, mock swordplay, women's races, entertainment by musicians and poets, and meetings between friends, family and clans. The feast itself began by eating curd cheese circles and butter made from the cows' milk of that morning. Special bread was also made from grain that was cut, dried, winnowed, ground and baked on a rowan fire that day.
During the festival of Lughnasadh, deeds of violence, levying debts, abductions and the divorcing of a husband or a wife were all prohibited on penalty of death. Trial marriages of 11 days were consummated on this day.