Lammas Day – August 1st

Lammas, also called Lughnasadh (pronouced loo’nass’ah), comes at the beginning of August. It was one of the Pagan festivals of Celtic origin which split the year into four. The quarter-days are February 2nd, May 1st   August 1st and November 1st. Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back to prehistoric times when it was associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. Celts held the festival of the Irish god Lugh at this time and later, the Anglo-Saxons marked the festival of hlaefmass – loaf mass or Lammas when Christianity came.  It was observed in England throughout the Middle Ages with the blessing of bread made from the first ripe corn. In Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest grain before Lammas; it meant that the previous year’s harvest had run out early, a serious failing in agricultural communities. However, on August 1st, the first sheaves of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season to be blessed in Church.  In Wessex, during the Anglo Saxon period, bread made from the new crop would be brought to church and blessed and then the Lammas loaf was broken into four pieces and placed in the corners of a barn where it served as a symbol of protection over the garnered grain. Lammas was a ritual that recognized a community’s dependency on what Thomas Hardy called ‘the ancient pulse of germ and birth.’

Saint Paul in his first Epistle to the Corinthians chapter 15 says that this is symbolic of the Resurrection of the Dead.

 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.



The feature image for this post is “Bread and Grains”, Wikicommons (P.D.)

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