Lammas/Lughnasadh is a time of abundance and gratitude. It marks the midpoint of the summer solstice and autumn equinox. As the first harvest festival, Lammas or Lughnasadh is a time to celebrate community and nature. This sabbat is celebrated with communal gatherings, feasts, and competitions. It’s the perfect weather for outside activities so our pagan ancestors tested themselves with physical feats such as wrestling, archery, and racing, etc.
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The name Lammas comes from the Old English word "hlafmaesse" meaning “loaf mass”. This refers to the loaves of bread made from the newly harvested grain. It is a time to give thanks and ways to show gratitude for the season we're moving in to. Lammas can be the secular version of Thanksgiving, where baking bread together as a family or making jam for the seasons ahead can be a fun way to show your appreciation for nature's bounty and each other's wellbeing for the months to come. One popular Lammas tradition is baking a Lammas loaf or make a corn dolly out of the last sheaf of corn from the harvest. It is a time when we can reflect on what we have accomplished so far in the year and set our intention for the rest of it.
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Lughnasadh or Lughnasa is named after the Celtic god of light and harvest, Lugh. It is a time to celebrate his bounty and give thanks for all that he has provided. This holiday is also known as a “first fruits” festival because it marks the beginning of the harvesting season. Lugh was the son of the Irish Sun Goddess and is known as a skilled warrior and athlete; this sabbat is also sometimes called “the games of Lugh'' because our pagan ancestors would test themselves with physical feats such as wrestling, archery, and racing during this time. This was seen as a way to prepare for harder times in the colder months ahead when food would be scarce. He also had a dog companion named Failinis/Fergus who would help him with his tasks and was said to be very loyal. We love our furry friends and it's so nice to see them celebrated!
Is it Lammas or is it Lughnasadh?
Actually, it is both! Lammas is the Christianized version of the holiday and Lughnasadh is the original Celtic name. No matter what you call it, this is a time to celebrate nature’s bounty, give thanks for all that we have, and set our intention for the rest of the year.
So go out there and enjoy the sunshine, good food, and company of loved ones.
Thankfulness & gratitude, Fire element, Associated with Leo season, and the colors of green & gold. Fresh Sunflowers, Corn, Bread, Grain, Beer, Ginger, Wheat all used to celebrate and decorate with. Seasonal fruits; Grapes, Raspberries, Crabapples to eat and animals of Roosters, Dogs, Crows and Pigs.
Bread has always been a special, easy to engage with item for celebrating sabbats - Lammas is no different. Here's an easy recipe to make your own - please substitute for allergens such as gluten free flour!
-250gms wholemeal flour
-½ tsp salt
-½ tsp baking powder
-OPTIONAL to include; Oats, Sunflower Seeds, Corn
To Make: Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients together, then pour in the lager and oil. Stir until everything is combined and a soft dough has formed. Tip out into a bowl and cover completely with a towel whilst it rises for 30 minutes to an hour. After it has doubled in size, tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two. Place into a greased loaf tin and leave to prove for another 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and crusty on top. Allow to cool slightly before slicing. This bread is delicious served fresh with butter, or toasted and topped with jam. It also freezes well, so you can enjoy it long after Lammas has passed!
Some things you can do to celebrate Lammas/Lughnasadh:
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- Gift a loved one a piece of jewelry as a way to show thanks, kindness and gratitude.
- Have a picnic in a park or your garden under the midday sun.
- Make cornbread or another type of bread from scratch, and decorate with sunflower seeds.
- Go for a nature walk to take in the sights and sounds of the changing seasons.
- Read tarot for the season ahead and for clarity on ways to bring in more gratitude.
- Offer to take neighbors dog's for a walk, especially if they have an elderly owner.
- Make a corn dolly or other craft using natural materials, and enchant with your intention for the season ahead or leave as an offering to your deity/patron.
- Write down what you are grateful for this year in a journal or on some pretty paper that you can visit any time.
- Spend time with loved ones, both human and furry
Whatever way you choose to spend time with yourself to celebrate this wonderful harvest witch festival, just know that you are surrounded by the energy of thanksgiving, love, and light. May your days be filled with happiness, good health, and all the magic that you can muster. Blessed Lammas/Lughnasadh to all! Until next time xox
Written by Lizzie Burgess from Backyardbanshee.com where you can find many free tarot spreads and spells to enjoy.