A Modern Look at a Late-Summer Tradition

Date 7/30/2016

Grab a loaf of bread and find a modern way to celebrate Lammas this summer.

Grab a loaf of bread and find a modern way to celebrate Lammas this summer.

Traditions from history often gain deeper meaning in the present. Lammas is a harvest festival reminding us that autumn will return. Find inspiration in this festival's history.

Origin of the Name

Lammas, a festival also known as Lughnasadh, is the festival of the First Harvest. The name Lughnasadh means "Commemoration of Lugh" in Irish Gaelic. The celebration revolves around Lugh, the Deity of Lughnasadh, though translations vary. Some call it the feast, gathering, or marriage of Lugh.

The festival, which always involves a feast, is associated with both Lugh and his foster-mother Tailtiu. Tailtiu is known for clearing the way for agriculture to be introduced in Ireland. In this way, Lughnasadh is linked to the harvest and the land. The harvest festival thus reminds us that autumn will eventually return.

The name Lammas comes from the old Anglo-Saxon hlaef-mass, or loaf mass. In the later medieval Scottish and English language, this word became Lammas. Lammas is mentioned as the Feast of the First Fruits as early as 921 CE.

When Does the Festival Take Place?

In an agricultural society like this, the start of the harvest was a natural time to give thanks for Divine gifts. Lammas marks the start of fall. The festival typically takes place on the first day of August. This is the internationally agreed-upon date, but if you want to celebrate like the ancient Celts did, you can go with the day of the full moon closest to this date. Sunset marked the beginning of the Celtic day. Because of this, the festival occurs the evening preceding the day on the calendar.

When Lughnasadh takes place, you'll start to notice the Sun's descent into the upcoming darkness of autumn and winter. The festival comes with the joy of first fruits, but it also holds some tension as winter darkness approaches. This tension is something you can look to in modern times. We all must learn to balance light with dark and follow the cycles of nature. Getting an online psychic reading can help you pinpoint areas of your life that need this balance.

Celebration and Ritual

Lammas builds on ideas of transformation, sacrifice, and death and rebirth. Rituals focused on cutting grain. Part of the cut grain was put into bread and used for nutrition, while another part was stored to use for seeds the next spring. The ritual cutting and then offering of the first grain was likely followed by a first meal and dancing.

You can translate this ritual into a modern version by getting a loaf of bread, either home-baked or even bought from the store. Getting a live psychic reading can find new ways to personalize the ritual. Say a few words about what Lammas means to you, and then eat the bread and light a candle. Be sure to save a few bits of the bread as a sacrifice to the earth.

However you celebrate, let the late-summer Lammas tradition remind you to give thanks and embrace the coming change of seasons.


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