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solstice and equinox, so the mid-summer festival would fall considerably later than summer solstice, around (Lughnasadh).

It appears that the calendar was designed to align the lunations with the agricultural cycle of vegetation, and that the exact astronomical position of the Sun at that time was considered less important.

Bonfires played a large part in the festivities celebrated down through the last several centuries, and up through the present day in some rural areas of the Celtic nations and the diaspora.

Villagers were said to have cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames.

In medieval Ireland, Samhain became the principal festival, celebrated with a great assembly at the royal court in Tara, lasting for three days.

After being ritually started on the Hill of Tlachtga, a bonfire was set alight on the Hill of Tara, which served as a beacon, signaling to people gathered atop hills all across Ireland to light their ritual bonfires.

This custom is still observed by many who farm and raise livestock because it is when meat will keep since the freeze has come and also since summer grass is gone and free foraging is no longer possible.For instance, the contemporary calendars produced by the Celtic League begin and end at Samhain.It is important to remember that all of the written documents in places like Ireland and Wales date to a time after the arrival of Christianity in the 5th century.The Samhain celebrations have survived in several guises as a festival dedicated to the harvest and the dead.In Ireland and Scotland, the Féile na Marbh, the 'festival of the dead' took place on Samhain.

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