What is Lammas / Lughnasadh you ask? How to celebrate Lammas? When is Lammas Day?
Lammas day or Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-Nas-Ah) is a pagan festival celebrating the first harvest. In the Northern hemisphere, it is celebrated on the 1st August, in the southern hemisphere, it is on the 1st February. This is when the first crops of the year are harvested which mainly consists of grains, wheat, barley and corn.
Historically Lammas would have been celebrated at the end of the day after the first harvest to allow time for the grains to be milled and bread to be baked, fresh and warm for the festivities. This day is also a reminder that autumn is looming closer and preparations need to begin for the coming winter.
Who is Lugh?
Lugh is a Celtic deity but references to a similar god can be found in Roman mythology. Lugh is said to be a multi-skilled craftsman who created a festival on the 1st of August to honour his foster mother ‘Tailtiu’ after her death. If you enjoy Celtic history, this story is well worth checking out ;-).
Honouring the God Lugh is a way of ensuring a good harvest and a way to say thanks. The festival had games and sporting contests, market fairs, bonfires, storytelling and lots of dancing. It is still celebrated this way in Ireland.
The grain mother is also known as the Earth Mother and the Harvest Queen. The Grain Mother is a Pagan reference to the Goddess at this time of year. She represents the ripe corn and crops while her daughter Persephone represents the grain. The grain falls to the ground where it is fertilised and then waits over the winter months to give birth in the spring to a new crop. (Metaphorically speaking, the mother becoming pregnant and giving birth in the spring.) This is according to goddessandgreenman.co.uk.
Some Goddess’ that correspond to the Grain Mother is;
- Danu – Celtic Mother Goddess
- Demeter – Greek Goddess (associated with grain, wheat and responsible for growing and harvesting)
- Ceres – Roman Goddess of the harvest
- Vesta – Roman Goddess of hearth and home
- Hestia – Greek Goddess of hearth
How to celebrate Lammas Day…
Decorating your home
One way to celebrate the season is to decorate your home and/or sacred space. Anything seasonal works well as a rule and can be utilised according to your space and budget. If you are lucky enough to live near farmland you may be able to find some corn or grain stalks that have been broken off. (Please don’t pick things from the farmer’s fields without their permission, they work very hard to grow those crops.) You could use the corn stalks to make corn dolls, they are fun to make and a great way to involve children in the celebrations. If you don’t have access to any corn but still fancy making some corn dolls, you can use things like raffia or wool/yarn. You can find lots of ideas on Pinterest or check out nurturestore.co.uk or edenproject.com.
Sunflowers can make a lovely bright and cheerful display and symbolise the summer sun (“Obviously :D”).
Sickles and scythes also make great decorations. What could symbolise the harvest more, than tools used for the actual act of harvesting? Real ones may not always be appropriate but if you can find ones meant for dolls houses or fairy gardens you can easily store it for use every year.
Fruits and Vegetables
Check out your local greengrocers or farmers markets for seasonal produce. Hard fruit and some veg can make great decorations. If your up for a challenge and feeling brave enough you could make a cornucopia! Which is a goats horn or a horn-shaped basket filled with fruits and vegetables.
Some vegetables and hard fruit such as squash’s or apples can be engraved with symbols or sigils and placed around your home as decorations.
If you are celebrating with a feast, you can make a dessert with fresh fruits or top a sponge cake with fruit and cream. If baking is not your thing you could cheat and buy the cake and top it with whatever you wish.
A few more ideas:
- Have a bonfire
- Make beeswax candles
- Visit a farm
- Bake some bread
- Practice Gratitude
- Create a sacred space in your garden
Colours herbs crystals and incense
Summer is ending and soon the leaves will be turning but the sun is still warm and strong. Colours for this Sabbat are reds and oranges, symbolising both the sun and the turning leaves. Include some green and brown to symbolise the green of the ripening harvest and the brown of the rich soil. If you have an altar, use a cloth in autumn colours and candles in rich reds or burgundy. Gold is also a colour that suggests the warmth of the sun and also the colour of the autumn leaves.
If you are amongst those of us that love to burn incense then frankincense and sandalwood are the ones most commonly associated with Lammas. They are both warm fragrances and frankincense can also be used in its herbal form. Check out our Incense! Other herbs to use include heather, corn stalks and ears, hollyhock, wheat, myrtle and even oak leaves. Scented candles can work equally well if you are unable to burn incense or you could make a room spray using essential oils.
Witches, Wiccans and special muggles love, love, love crystals! You will find many varieties in their homes and when it is Sabbat time, out they come! Lammas is no exception. Altars and sacred spaces can be adorned with amber, aventurine, carnelian, clear quartz, obsidian, tiger’s eye and many others. Use what feels right for you or if you have something in particular that you’d like to manifest or banish then use an appropriate stone or stones.
Food for feasting
Lammas is a celebration but how you choose to mark the occasion is entirely up to you. Whether it is a small solitary affair, a gathering of a coven or anything in between, one of the most important (or fun) things about Lammas, or any of the Sabbats, is of course food and drink (or maybe that’s just us lol). If you plan to make it a simple meal or a fabulous banquet here are a few suggestions…..
- Multigrain bread – Ideally from scratch but shop bought is fine too. A bread mix would be a good compromise ;-).
- Blackberry pie – If you can pick your own then go for it!
- Corn on the cob – Is a perfect and obvious choice
- BBQ meats – Get outside and cook on open flames while you still can!
- Fried chicken – Use flour or breadcrumbs in the coating
- Blackberry wine, dark fruity mead or any dark beverage containing fruit or beer/ale – This is a good excuse to brew your own if you are into that. Fruity mocktails if you want something non-alcoholic plus the kids will also love them!
- *Grapes, pears, peaches, grains- Basically anything fruity that is in season is good
Finding ways to celebrate Lammas in this modern age is not always easy. People don’t always have the time and money to do lots of big things but there are many things you can do that take very little time, money or even effort. If you have children try to involve them too, kids love preparing for any Sabbat but it’s even more fun when the weather is good. Try out some of these suggestions…
Lammas is all about the grain harvest and what better way to show this than with popcorn? Make it from scratch and make loads. There are lots of crafts you can do with the kids, you can decorate your altar with it, you can even eat it (haha), make some chocolate covered popcorn for the kids or a gourmet version for the grownups such as rosemary and parmesan (we prefer the kids’ version but that’s just us).
Make bread from scratch-
Yes, we know, major hassle, right? Well, maybe not. There are some delicious bread mixes available in most supermarkets. All you have to do is throw in some lukewarm water and knead it. Easy! Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and ‘voila’. Lammas bread made from scratch. The smell as its cooking is so worth it and you get extra brownie points because everyone thinks you’re a kitchen goddess (or god), also you can get the kiddies to do the hard, messy bit lol.
Make beeswax candles-
You can get some from a craft shop or even a local beekeeper. It makes a good craft for older children and adults.
Do a full home blessing-
A home blessing needn’t be complicated. Start with opening all the doors and windows and do a good sweep through with your besom if you have one. You can also use a normal broom if you don’t. Sweep all that bad energy out of the open door by visualizing with intent. This is my preference, but I also like to use a floor wash with lavender and rosemary, either fresh or essential oil or a mixture of both. You can, of course, use whatever is your preference for cleansing, but this is not essential. You could also smudge all the rooms paying particular attention to ceiling corners and windows. If you would like to purchase a smudge stick we have some HERE. Finish off by lighting some candles, scented ones make a nice addition but are not essential.
Go berry picking-
Take the kids, take the dog but don’t forget to take something to put your berry treasure in! Blackberries are the obvious choice but if you like making jam you can find recipes for other berries like elderberry, hawthorn. But make sure you know what it is you are picking first and don’t forget to leave some for the wildlife, just take a few from each bush.
Toast the sunset-
Find a nice quiet spot in a natural setting or your garden, get a bottle of champagne or harvest wine (or mead) and toast the sun as it sets over the horizon and bid farewell to Lammas for another year. And thank the gods and goddesses for the lovely harvest.
And saving the best till last…….HAVE A FEAST!!!!! Enjoy
xx Happy Lammas Day Everyone! xx
from Stormy and Raven xx
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