Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Celebrating Lammas

Lammas is the first harvest festival, for most of us it is one of the lesser-known festivals in the wheel of the year. Ironically, it was one of the first ones I heard of, because it is mentioned in Romeo & Juliet (Juliet's nurse notes that Juliet was born at Lammastide). The festival takes place between July 31 and August 2.
It is also called "Lugnasadh" (Loo-nah-sah), after Lugh, the celtic god of skills and talents.
The Saxon holiday of Lammas celebrates the harvesting of the grain. The first sheaf of wheat is ceremonially reaped, threshed, milled and baked into a loaf. The grain dies so that the people might live. Eating this bread, the bread of the Gods, gives us life. If all this sounds vaguely Christian, it is. In the sacrament of Communion, bread is blessed, becomes the body of God and is eaten to nourish the faithful. This Christian Mystery echoes the pagan Mystery of the Grain God. [source link

Until recent years, in Scotland, the first cut of the Harvest was made on Lammas Day, and was a ritual in itself. The entire family must dress in their finest clothing and go into the fields. The head of the family would lay his bonnet (hat) on the ground and, facing the Sun, cut the first handful of corn with a sickle. He would then put the corn Sun-wise around his head three times while thanking the God of the Harvest for "corn and bread, food and flocks, wool and clothing, health and strength, and peace and plenty." [source link

  • Wheat or corn or other grains
  • Bread
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Summer squash
  • New potatoes, mashed potatoes, or colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage and cream mixed in)
  • Grain beverages

  • Share talents or skills with each other (participate in or attend a talent show or craft fair)
  • Give thanks for your talents and skills
  • Give thanks for the coming harvest
  • Grind grain
  • Make bread
  • Make applesauce
  • Make corn-husk dolls 
  • Share bread with friends (giving loaves, or breaking a loaf together)


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