The festival of Lammas, celebrated on or around August 1st in the Northern Hemisphere, marks the middle of summer and the beginning of the harvest season. The days now grow visibly shorter and by the time we’ve reached autumns end (October 31st), we will have run the gamut of temperature from the dog days of August to the chill of October.
Lammas is considered a time of thanksgiving and is the first of the three Pagan harvest festivals. The Sun’s strength begins to wane and the plants of spring begin to wither and drop their fruits or seeds. Fruits and seeds for our use as well as for saving to plant for future crops.
A sense of abundance fills the air while at the same time we begin to feel an urgency to prepare for winter. These first grains and fruits of the Earth are cut and stored for the dark winter months.
“Lammas” was the medieval Christian name for the holiday and it means “loaf-mass”, for this was the day on which the loaves of bread were baked from the first grain harvest and laid on the church altars as offerings. It was a day representative of ‘first fruits’ and early harvest.
Lammas is also known as Lughnasadh, Lammastide, and First Harvest Festival.
Foods: bread, grains, potatoes, summer squash, cider, blackberry pies and jellies, berries, apples, roasted lamb, elderberry wine, meadowsweet tea
Plants and Herbs: geranium, juniper, marjoram, thyme, sunflowers, wheat
Incense and oils: allspice, rosemary, vanilla, sandalwood, rose
Colors: red, gold, yellow, orange
Stones: aventurine, citrine, peridot,
Decorations: corn, hay, gourds, corn dolls, shafts of grain, sun wheels
Activities: games, country fairs, making corn dollies, baking bread, gathering fruit, visits to fields, orchards, lakes, and wells.
Spell/ritual work: Offering thanks, honoring fathers, prosperity, abundance, generosity, continued success, connectedness
Ritually sacrifice negative emotions, outworn habits, etc. by ‘transferring’ them into a small bread ‘person’ you have baked, and then throwing it, either whole or in pieces, into the ritual fire.