Calendar for August 1st, 2014

Lammas Day

From the Old English hlaf, "loaf," and maesse, "mass" or "feast," Lammas is very old indeed. It derives from the ancient English festival the Gule of August, which marked the beginning of the harvest, traditionally August 1. The early English church kept this pagan dedication of the first fruits but converted it to Christian usage. Through the centuries, "loaf-mass" became corrupted in spelling and pronunciation to Lammas. On Lammas Day, loaves of bread were baked from the first-ripened grain and brought to the churches to be consecrated. To the Celts, this was Lughnasaid, the feast of the wedding of the Sun god and the Earth goddess, and also a harvest festival. In Ireland, baskets of blueberries are still offered to a sweetheart in commemoration of the original fertility festival. In Scotland, the Lammastide fairs became famous for trial marriages that could be ended without question after a year. "After Lammas Day, corn ripens as much by night as by day."