August 1st is celebrated across the northern hemisphere as Lammas Day.
Traditionally observed on August 1, Lammas Day marks the beginning of the grain harvest season.
Depending upon the geographic location, Lammas Day celebrates the first wheat, corn, millet, or sorghum crop.
The name is derived from an ancient English festival called: Gule of August. On this day, loaves of bread were baked from the first-ripened grain and brought to the churches to be consecrated.
The word ‘lammas’ is Old English interpreted as ‘loaf mass’ or ‘loaf feast’.
Through the centuries, ‘loaf-mass’ became corrupted in spelling and pronunciation to Lammas. To the Celts, this was Lughnasaid, the feast of the wedding of the Sun god and the Earth goddess, and also a harvest festival.
In Ireland, piles of blueberries are still offered to females in commemoration of the original fertility festival. In Scotland, the Lammastide fairs are famous as trial marriages which can be ended without question after a year.
Much folklore surrounds Lammas Day, including this proverb:
“After Lammas Day, corn ripens as much by night as by day.”
images by Antony Hell