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lammas loaves

Lughnasadh (pronounced LOO-nə-sə) is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. It was once observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man on the first day of August. That was about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox, and is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane, that are also referred to as cross-quarter days.

Lughnasadh was the wedding of the Sun god Lugh to the Earth goddess, causing the ripening of crops.

Over time the celebrations have shifted to the Sunday nearest this date, so today might be the time to bring a new wheat loaf of bread to church.

It corresponds to other European harvest festivals such as the Welsh Gŵyl Awst and the English Lammas.


The three-faced god identified as Lugh/Lugus

The church transformed Lughnasadh into an offering from the first fruits of the land. The first loaves baked from the new wheat were offered at the Loaf Mass, which became corrupted in pronunciation to Lammas.

Lammas Day (Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas, “loaf-mass”) is celebrated in some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere, but may occur between August 1 and September 1. It is a festival to mark the annual wheat harvest which began at Lammastide. The loaf was blessed, and in Anglo-Saxon England it might even be used to work some magic. In the book of Anglo-Saxon charms, you are directed to break the lammas bread into four and place them at the four corners of the barn, to protect the harvested grain.


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