Lammas is one of the festivals on the Pagan calendar. It’s a Celtic festival, marking the first harvest, and honoring the Irish god Lugh–hence this festival also being called Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-nass-eh–Lammas is easier!). The name Lammas comes from the festival of the loaf mass, a celebration marking the first loaf of bread made with that year’s first harvest of grain. It’s also during this festival that the seed grain would be saved for the following year, ensuring that the crops could be planted, and life would be sustained.
Because it is so intimately connected to the harvest, this is very much an agricultural festival. In fact, it was considered very bad luck to start to harvest before celebrating Lammas, which is held from 31st July to 2nd August. The harvest then continued until the last festival on the wheel of the year, marked by Samhain, or Halloween.
As well as being a harvest festival, Lammas is a festival of remembering, too, honoring the crops that did not flourish, and of releasing what may be holding you back from being all you can be. It’s a time of honoring the circle of life; the seed planted, the seed harvested, the seed saved, as the winter frost kills off the field, allowing it to sleep through the winter, until the seed is planted once more. In the midst of the thanksgiving and abundance, it’s a time for reflection, too.
Today, much of modern western society doesn’t seem to have such a close relationship with the seasons, or the harvest. Maybe you work in an office or a factory, and buy your bread from the supermarket, rather than harvest your own grain. You can still honor the turning of the seasons though, by taking time out of your day and celebrating Lammas.
Take a moment or two to observe your surroundings. If you live in the countryside, you may find the corn starting to tassel, the beans starting to turn from green to gold, apple and other fruit trees starting to drop their yield. Even in the city, you’ll see the harvest coming into the grocery stores, and autumn colors appearing in craft shops and fashion outlets. We still turn with the wheel of the year, whether we realize it or not!
You may notice that some churches and other organizations start to hold harvest festivals. Farmers’ markets are full of produce. It’s a time when thanksgiving starts, as the harvest to sustain life through the winter is picked and preserved. If you would like to tap into some of this energy, then there are many different ways that you can honor this festival. It doesn’t matter what path you follow, because the main focus is on the early harvest.
Celebrating Lammas is easy, whether you are going to be part of an organized festivity, or whether you want to do something private and solitary. You can decorate in harvest colors, and as you do, be thankful for what lies ahead, and the abundance that you’re receiving in the harvest. Bake your own bread, and as you do, reflect on the cycle of growing and harvesting the grain. Something as simple as lighting a harvest colored candle, and offering a prayer of thanksgiving, works, too. Remember, it doesn’t matter what you do; it’s the intent with which you do it that makes celebrating Lammas important to you.
About Sarah Bellum
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