August 1: Lammas Day
This observance, traditionally observed on August 1, marked the beginning of the harvest, and especially celebrated the first wheat crop, or that of corn. It derives from the ancient English festival the Gule of August, a pagan dedication of the first fruits that the early English church later converted to Christian usage. On Lammas Day, loaves of bread were baked from the first-ripened grain and brought to the churches to be consecrated. The word “lammas” comes from the Old English hlaf, “loaf,” and maesse, “mass” or “feast.” Through the centuries, “loaf-mass” became corrupted in spelling and pronunciation to Lammas.
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.
Much lore is associated with this day, including this proverb: After Lammas Day, corn ripens as much by night as by day.