What is the Lammas Festival?

For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” …John 6:33 

In the Bible Bread is repeatedly referenced as a gift from God and it also symbolises the body of Christ so it’s importance is marked each year in the Christian calendar 

Halfway between summer solstice and Autumn equinox Lammas day is celebrated across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  For those of the Christian faith ‘Lammas’ (from old English) or ‘Loaf mass’ is traditionally celebrated in the month of August.  

In early Christianity a special church service would be held and loaves of bread made from the first grains of the new harvest were blessed. Today Christians still continue to bring bread to the Lammas day service to give thanks for and to celebrate the first harvest. Some churches also make special processions to local bakeries and the local church clergy bless the bakers working in them. 

On this day in some traditions the Celtic sun king and God of Light Lughnasad (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah) is also celebrated.  Today Pagans celebrate by baking bread and cakes and decorating an altar with symbols of the harvest such as grains, corn and apples. During the celebration a ritual is held where people stand in a circle and chant special words giving thanks to Lugh and to the earth for the harvest.  After the ritual; the bread and cakes are eaten and wine is often also drunk pagans work with the cycle of Lammas being the first harvest followed by Mabon and Samhain (otherwise known as Halloween being the third and final harvest. 

Of course today it’s easy to buy bread from the supermarket – it’s something we take for granted, but modern day Pagans believe celebrating Lammas is a way of honouring those before us who worked and toiled and whose survival depended upon a successful harvest.  

By Venia, Eurospeak

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *