Day (Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas, "loaf-mass"), is a holiday celebrated in some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere, usually between 1 August and 1 September. It is a festival to mark the annual wheat harvest, and is the first harvest festival of the year. On this day it was customary to bring to church a loaf made from the new crop, which began to be harvested at Lammastide, which falls at the halfway point between the summer Solstice
and Autumn September Equinox. The loaf was blessed, and in Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England
it might be employed afterwards to work magic:[1] a book of Anglo-Saxon charms directed that the lammas bread be broken into four bits, which were to be placed at the four corners of the barn, to protect the garnered grain. In many parts of England, tenants were bound to present freshly harvested wheat to their landlords on or before the first day of August. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, where it is referred to regularly, it is called "the feast of first fruits". The blessing of first fruits was performed annually in both the Eastern and Western Churches on the first or the sixth of August (the latter being the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ). Lammas
has coincided with the feast of St. Peter in Chains, commemorating St. Peter's miraculous deliverance from prison, but in the liturgical reform of 1969, the feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori
Alphonsus Liguori
was transferred to this day, the day of St. Alphonsus' death.


1 History 2 Neopaganism 3 Other uses 4 In popular culture 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

History[edit] In medieval times the feast was sometimes known in England
and Scotland as the "Gule of August",[2] but the meaning of "gule" is unclear. Ronald Hutton suggests[3] following the 18th-century Welsh clergyman antiquary John Pettingall[4] that it is merely an Anglicisation of Gŵyl Awst, the Welsh name of the "feast of August". OED
and most etymological dictionaries give it a more circuitous origin similar to gullet; from Old French
Old French
goulet, a diminutive of goule, "throat, neck," from Latin
gula "throat,". Several antiquaries beginning with John Brady[5] offered a back-construction to its being originally known as Lamb-mass, under the undocumented supposition that tenants of the Cathedral of York, dedicated to St. Peter ad Vincula, of which this is the feast, would have been required to bring a live lamb to the church,[6] or, with John Skinner, "because Lambs then grew out of season." This is a folk etymology, of which OED
notes that it was "subsequently felt as if from LAMB + MASS". For many villeins, the wheat must have run low in the days before Lammas, and the new harvest began a season of plenty, of hard work and company in the fields, reaping in teams.[7] Thus there was a spirit of celebratory play. In the medieval agricultural year, Lammas
also marked the end of the hay harvest that had begun after Midsummer. At the end of hay-making a sheep would be loosed in the meadow among the mowers, for him to keep who could catch it.[8] In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet
(1.3.19) it is observed of Juliet, "Come Lammas
Eve at night shall she [Juliet] be fourteen." Since Juliet was born Lammas
eve, she came before the harvest festival, which is significant since her life ended before she could reap what she had sown and enjoy the bounty of the harvest, in this case full consummation and enjoyment of her love with Romeo. Another well-known cultural reference is the opening of The Battle of Otterburn: "It fell about the Lammas
tide when the muir-men win their hay". William Hone
William Hone
speaks in The Every-Day Book (1838) of a later festive Lammas
day sport common among Scottish farmers near Edinburgh. He says that they "build towers...leaving a hole for a flag-pole in the centre so that they may raise their colours." When the flags over the many peat-constructed towers were raised, farmers would go to others' towers and attempt to "level them to the ground." A successful attempt would bring great praise. However, people were allowed to defend their towers, and so everyone was provided with a "tooting-horn" to alert nearby country folk of the impending attack and the battle would turn into a "brawl." According to Hone, more than four people had died at this festival and many more were injured. At the day's end, races were held, with prizes given to the townspeople. Neopaganism[edit] Main article: Wheel of the Year Lughnasadh
or Lammas
is also the name used for one of the eight sabbats in the Neopagan
Wheel of the Year. It is the first of the three autumn harvest festivals, the other two being the autumn equinox (also called Mabon) and Samhain. In the Northern Hemisphere
Northern Hemisphere
it takes place around 1 August, while in the Southern Hemisphere it is celebrated around 1 February.[9][10][11][12] Other uses[edit] Lammas
is one of the Scottish quarter days. Lammas
leaves or Lammas growth
Lammas growth
refers to a second crop of leaves produced in high summer by some species of trees in temperate countries to replace those lost to insect damage. They often differ slightly in shape, texture and/or hairiness from the earlier leaves. A low impact development project at Tir y Gafel, Glandwr, Pembrokeshire,[13] Lammas Ecovillage
Lammas Ecovillage
is a collective initiative for nine self-built homes[14]. It was the first such project to obtain planning permission based on a predecessor of what is now the sixth national planning guidance[15] for sustainable rural communities originally proposed by the One Planet Council[16]. In popular culture[edit] The Doctor Who serial The Image of the Fendahl, takes place on Lammas Eve. In the Inspector Morse episode "Day of the Devil", Lammas
Day is presented as a Satanic (un)holy day, "the Devil's day".[17] See also[edit]

Home Ould Lammas
Fair Leyton Marshes


^ T.C. Cokayne, ed. Leechdoms, Wortcunning and Starcarft (Rolls Series) vol. III:291, noted by George C. Homans, English Villagers of the Thirteenth Century, 2nd ed. 1991:371. ^ J.P. Bacon Phillips, inquiring the significance of "gule", "Lammas-Day and the Gule of August", Notes and Queries, 2 August 1930:83. ^ Hutton, The Stations of the Sun, Oxford 1996. ^ Pettingall, in Archaeologia or, Miscellaneous tracts, relating to antiquity..., (Society of Antiquaries of London) 2:67. ^ Brady, Clavis Calendaris, 1812, etc. s.v. "Lammas-Day". ^ Reported without comment in John Brand, Henry Ellis, J.O. Halliwell-Phillips, Observations on the Popular Antiquities of Great Britain, new ed. 1899: vol. I, s.v. "Lammas". ^ Noted by Homans 1991:371. ^ Homans 1991:371. ^ Nevill Drury (2009). "The Modern Magical Revival: Esbats and Sabbats". In Pizza, Murphy; Lewis, James R. Handbook of Contemporary Paganism. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishers. pp. 63–67. ISBN 9789004163737.  ^ Hume, Lynne (1997). Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 9780522847826.  ^ Vos, Donna (2002). Dancing Under an African Moon: Paganism and Wicca in South Africa. Cape Town: Zebra Press. pp. 79–86. ISBN 9781868726530.  ^ Bodsworth, Roxanne T (2003). Sunwyse: Celebrating the Sacred Wheel of the Year in Australia. Victoria, Australia: Hihorse Publishing. ISBN 9780909223038.  ^ Project homepage ^ Self build central images ^ [ Annual Monitoring Report (PDF) ^ One planet council photographs ^ "Inspector Morse" The Day of the Devil (1993) Reviews & Ratings, retrieved 2017-09-18 

External links[edit]

Look up Lammas
in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Pretanic World Pre-Christian Holidays & Pre-Christian Traditions of Christian Holidays from Britain and Ireland Observations on Popular Antiquities

v t e

Wheel of the Year

Midwinter/Yule Imbolc/Gŵyl Fair Vernal equinox/Ostara Beltane/Calan Mai Midsummer Lughnasadh/Calan Awst Autumnal equinox/Mabon Samhain