Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh, falls on August 1st. Here’s how we’ll be celebrating at Suzie K.
What is Lammas?
Lammas falls between the summer Solstice (Litha) and the autumn equinox (Mabon) and marks the turning of the year between summer and autumn, rebirth and renewal, and the first fruits of harvest.
The word ‘lammas’ translates from Old English to mean ‘loaf mass,’ recalling when the first loaves of bread made from grain from the year’s crops would be blessed in church. Lammas is a festival of grain and bread. Old Irish tradition dictated that harvesting grain before Lammas is too early and indicates a shortage from the past year. August 1st is traditionally when the first sheaves of wheat were cut – and back then, this timing could mean the difference between having plenty or going hungry.
The festival is also known as Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-nass-ah) to celebrate the Celtic god of crafting, Lug, who is known in Celtic folklore as the patron of arts, music and handicrafts.
Late summer is a time when the sunny days are still upon us and there are still symbols of fertility all around, but we begin to see the first of the year’s harvest, and prepare to gather and give thanks. Fruit and berries are ripening and the grain crops are harvested. It is a time to reap what we have sown, and a time to honour our ancestors and give thanks for the crops that feed us, as surely as they kept our ancestors alive.
Some symbols associated with Lammas include:
Bread, wheat and grains
Corn dollies, bows or sun-wheels made of corn stalks
Seasonal fruits and vegetables such as apples, plums, blackberries and pumpkins
Vines, grapes and wine
Symbols of harvest such as scythes and baskets
Iron – both tools and weapons are associated with Lug, and iron is traditionally a protective element
Colours associated with the season are natural browns and greens, plus autumnal reds, oranges and yellows.
How you can celebrate Lammas
Some ideas for celebrating the season include:
Create a Lammas harvest altar, with some of the symbols of the season listed above
Bake bread or cakes to give thanks for the first harvest
Gather with your friends to give thanks – you can eat your bread and cakes and maybe have a drink of wine too!
Craft decorations such as corn dollies to decorate your home and altar, and honour both the harvest and Lug
Celebrate crafts and talents by practicing some of your current ones, or learning new ones
Write a story, sing a song, or play some music
How we’ll be celebrating Lammas at Suzie K
We weren’t able to book our new regular room in time for our Lammas Turn of the Wheel event, so we’re taking the opportunity to do something a bit different. We’re having a picnic – all welcome, free to attend, no booking necessary. We’ll be meeting outside the Suzie K shop on Bridge Street at 2pm on Sunday 30th July, to do the short walk down over the bridge to Minerva’s shrine in Handbridge for a sharing picnic. Bring something to sit on and something to eat, drink or share! The event will run 2 – 3.30pm and we’d love to see you there.
We’ll be back in Ye Olde Custom House for our Autumn Equinox event on Sunday 24th September – we’ll share details of that nearer to the time.
You can check out all the Turn of the Wheel dates for 2023 over at our events page.
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