July 31, 2014

Today is Lammas the festival of the wheat harvest, and it was customary to bring to church a loaf made from the new crop, which began to be harvested at Lammastide. However like most Christian festivals it originates from pagan celebrations, it’s the Irish/Celtic name for the feast which commemorates the funeral games of Lugh, Celtic god of light, and son of the Sun. August is his sacred month when he created great celebrations for his mother, Tailtiu.  Great feasts and bonfires were sued to celebrate the Lammas day, much time was spend dancing and communities got together to share the grain harvest and celebrate weddings (August still remains the most popular month for a wedding.) Mother earth was also seen to be at her most abundant at this festival; with seeds ready for next year fertility rites were often performed on this day. Much was made of this festival as the darkness would soon be drawing in and would become much more apparent over the next month or so.

It is one of those festivals pagans used to split the wheel of the year into eight parts, It is the first of the three autumn harvest festivals, the other two being the autumn equinox (also called Mabon) and Samhain

The power of the sun makes the grain grow which we then harvest and we make bread out of it.. The Saxon’s called this hlaef-masse or loaf-mass, now lammas.  Seeds are saved so that they can be plated next year and the son of the Sun will rise to make them grow next spring. I

If you want to join in with the Lammas celebrations here are few ideas –

Set up an altar in the garden to show what the earth has harvested for us, use summer and autumn colours, reds, yellow and oranges with green and brown to cover both seasons, add some of the harvest tools like the scythe or spade and of course some grain to show what the first harvest is all about. Have a picture or statute of the sun in the centre for Lugh.

You can also make corn dollies to celebrate mother earth’s fertility, or make corn braids, drink wine and have a feat of summer foods and really good bread!

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