Lammas, from the Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas, (loaf-mass), refers to the First Harvest. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it is called ‘the feast of first fruits’.
In past times, in many parts of England, tenants were bound to present freshly harvested wheat to their landlords on or before the first day of August.
On this day it was customary to make the first loaf from the new crop , which might also be used to work magic. A book of charms from the time states that the Lammas bread be broken into four pieces, which were to be placed at the four corners of the barn, to protect the gathered grain. Just as its name suggests, loafs were also taken into mass to give thanks for the harvest.
Lugh is a Celtic Sun God who’s name means ‘the shining one’.
Lughnasadh marks the now noticeable descent of the Sun into the darkness of winter, the midpoint of which we celebrated at Midsummer.
Now is the time to gather the harvest and fruits of the year. The grain is cut, and made into bread and other nutritious foods. Some is stored in barns and grain stores and used as seeds next spring in order to perpetuate the continuing cycle of new life.
It is at this time then, that we should turn our thoughts to personal sacrifice, transformation, death and rebirth. We might also like to think about the fruition and culmination of projects which are perhaps still unfinished. Are there others which might need a kick-start or further preparation?
In general terms, Lammas / Lughnasadh is a good time to give thanks to the Gods and the Earth Spirits for the blessings and gifts that we are now receiving.