Celebrating the Harvest Festival Lammas on August 1st

The season of Lammas (also called Lughnasadh) begins on August 1st and continues until the end of September in the Northern Hemisphere (Feb 1st until the end of March in the Southern Hemisphere) marking the cross-quarter or midpoint in the Sun’s progress between Midsummer (Summer Solstice) and Mabon (Autumnal Equinox). Traditionally timed with the beginning of the grain harvest, it is the first of three Autumn Harvest festivals, and is associated with giving thanks, especially in the form of wheat or bread products.

From the website www.crystalwind.ca we read: “Lammas marks the point in the growing season of many crops (particularly grains such as wheat, barley and corn) when the first harvest may take place. As a sign of gratitude for these first fruits and hope for a bounty in the remaining season, the very best of this first harvest are set aside as a sacrifice.”

Lughnasadh is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. www.wikipedia.org notes that it is still widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Originally it was held on 1 August, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox.

“Lughnasadh is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and is believed to have pagan origins. The festival itself is named after the god Lugh . It involved great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests (most notably the Tailteann Games ), feasting, matchmaking and trading. There were also visits to holy wells . According to folklorist Máire MacNeill , evidence shows that the religious rites included an offering of the first of the corn, a feast of the new food and of bilberries , the sacrifice of a bull and a ritual dance-play.” www.wikipedia.org

Today many Christians and pagans celebrate Lammas with festivals and the giving (frequently anonymous) or gifts of bread, cookies, or other baked goods. Some honor the concept of “sacrifice” by giving away everything they have baked and keeping nothing for themselves.

by Staff