Temple Membership Form
||Lammas is a Neo-Pagan
holiday, often called Lughnasadh, celebrating the first harvest and the
reaping of grain. It is a cross-quarter holiday halfway between the Summer
Solstice (Litha) and the Autumnal Equinox (Mabon). In the northern
hemisphere, Lammas takes place around August 1 with the Sun near the
midpoint of Leo in the tropical zodiac, while in the southern hemisphere
Lammas is celebrated around February 1 with the Sun near the midpoint of
Aquarius. On the Wheel of the Year, it is opposite Imbolc, which is
celebrated on February 2 in the northern hemisphere, and late July / early
August in the southern hemisphere.
August 1 is Lammas Day (loaf-mass day), the festival of the 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. 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 new 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). The Sacramentary
of Pope Gregory I (died 604) specifies the sixth.
In mediæval times the feast was known as the "Gule of August", but the
meaning of "gule" is unclear. Ronald Hutton suggests that it may be an
Anglicisation of Gŵyl Awst, the Welsh name for August 1 meaning "feast of
August", but this is perhaps an overly complicated extraction. Most
etymological dictionaries give it an origin similar to gullet; from O.Fr.
goulet, dim. of goule "throat, neck," from L. gula "throat,". One can see
why Hutton feels differently as this Welsh derivation would point to a
pre-Christian origin for Lammas among the Anglo-Saxons and a link to the
Gaelic festival of Lughnasadh. 'Gule' could also come from 'Geohhol' (Old
English form of 'jule') and thus Lammas Day was the 'Jule of August'.
There are several historical references to it being known as Lambess eve,
such as 'Publications of the Scottish Historical Society' 1964 and this
alternate name is the origin of the Lambess surname, just as Hallowmass
and Christmas were also adopted as familial titles.