Lammas is a Christian celebration of Anglo Saxon origin that is common within many modern Pagan communities as well. It is celebrated on or near August 1st.
What is Lammas?
Lammas, or loaf mass from (hlaf-mas) is a First Fruits celebration involving the blessing of loaves of bread produced from the first cuttings of grain. In Anglican Christian tradition, the loaves are prepared at Lammastide, halfway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox, and brought to the church to be blessed by the clergy on the following Sunday, Loaf Mass day. The blessed loaf may be used as a charm, placing four pieces in the four corners of the home for protection or in four corners of the barn to protect the rest of the harvest.
In Medieval times, Lammas seems to have been a celebratory event involving raucous games and contests among the common folk as the haying season ended and the sheep were brought in. In Scotland, it marked, and indeed still marks, a quarter day, when accounts are settled.
Several modern Pagan traditions celebrate Lammas. Often bread is baked in remembrance and reverence for ancestors who harvested their own grain and baked their own bread as a matter of survival. Sometimes a specific type of bread is prescribed, such as a bannock or a hoecake or the loaf may be braided or shaped in some other way to make it special. Some traditions specify that the loaf must be created outdoors over the ritual fire and/or that it be created with energy and intention. The Lammas loaf may then be used as an offering to the ancestors and/or Gods or used as a charm as previously mentioned.
It is generally believed that Lammas is a Pagan tradition that was absorbed into the church liturgical calendar as part of the efforts to convert the Anglo-Saxon people and the British Isles. It is mentioned within early Wiccan documents as one of the four major Sabbats of the year.
The Witches Creed mentions Lammas
Four times in the year the Great Sabbat Returns, and the witches are seen At Lammas and Candlemas dancing, On May Eve and old Hallowe’en.((https://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos083.htm))
Within the Pagan community and varying by tradition, Lammas may be considered equivalent to Lughnassadh or First Harvest.
Similar and related festivals: Gŵyl Awst, Lughnassadh, First Harvest, Freyfaxi
Lammas in Literature
- Juliet was to turn 14 on Lammas Eve in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
- The Battle of Otterburn is set “about the Lammastide”
- Young Ronald is set “upon the Lammas time”
- You say Lammas, I Say Lughnassadh: Christians, Pagans Embrace Harvest at readthespirit.com Religious Holidays & Festivals
- Lammastide from The Church of England
- Watch 3 Things You May Not Know About Lammas by Scarlet Ravenswood on Youtube
- Hutton, Ronald (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
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