In Ireland, they have a parade to celebrate a goat. Yes, you read that right. A goat. There are many different legends about how the fair came to be but the one I will be focusing on is the first story on the Puck Fair’s history tab on their website. The legend says that an English army lead by Oliver Cromwell were pillaging the areas surrounding the town of Killorglin. They planned to attack Killorglin. However, on their way to the town they scared a herd of grazing sheep. The male goat, or “Puck,” split off from the rest of the herd and ran through the banks of Laune to the town of Killorglin. “Puck” arrived in semi-exhaustion, therefore alerting the townspeople of impending trouble. They immediately started to protect themselves, their crops, and their livestock. In recognition of the goat’s service to Killorglin, the townspeople instituted a special fair to honor the goat. The festival has been held ever since.
Every year a wild goat from the mountains is caught by a goat catcher. The goat is brought into the town and a “Queen of Puck,” who is usually a schoolgirl from one of the local elementary schools, crowns him “King Puck.” The welfare of the goat is very important to the fair directors and they have strict protocols to keep the goat healthy and happy. The goats are overseen and checked often by a veterinary surgeon.
For three days, a number of musicals, plays, and comedic theatrical street performances take place throughout the town. This provides entertainment for young and old alike. Several mini-workshops also take place. Even after the sun goes down, the party continues with a variety of open air concerts. On the last day of the celebrations, a giant firework display is set off at midnight. It is set off on a hillside near Laune, the banks of which provided passage for the “Puck” goat. These fireworks can be seen throughout the town.
In Celtic mythology, Aine (pronounced “Awnya”) is the goddess of summer, sovereignty, wealth, love and cattle. She is a faerie queen and is known by the names Lady of the Lake, the Goddess of the Earth and Nature, and the Goddess of Luck and Magic. She was said to be one of the most powerful, beautiful and lovely goddesses. She is often associated with summer and summer love. The feast of Midsummer Night was celebrated in her honor and farmers would burn flowers and straw in hope that she would grant them freedom from illness and evil throughout the new year.