Lammas or Lughnasadh is a Pagan holiday celebrated on August 1st. It symbolizes the end of the summer period (yes, even though you may not want to hear that we are on our way to the end) and the beginning of the magical fall.
The Lammas holiday is also closely connected to the harvest season.
It is traditionally believed that the period of the Lammas celebration was very important in the religious communities, not only from the perspective of Pagan or Christian traditions but also due to its agricultural significance.
Lammas versus Lughnasadh. What Is The Difference?
First of all, let’s talk about terminology for a bit.
Lammas comes from Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas, "loaf-mass", therefore also known as Loaf Mass Day and it is a Christian holiday.
The celebration of this holiday by the Christian community is in part similar to what we will be discussing later. The holiday signifies a period of being blessed by the first gifts of the harvest season. The wheat collected is often used to make the Lammas bread that would later be brought to church for a blessing.
Lughnasadh or Lughnasa is the name used by the “Neopagan” community and just like Lammas, marks the beginning of the harvest period. It is the time when we are grateful for the abundance of Mother Earth.
How to pronounce Lughnasadh?
The term Lughnasadh comes from the Irish spelling of the word. The Modern way of Irish pronunciation is Lúnasa and pronounced Loo-nuh-suh. The Classical pronunciation is /’luɣ.nə.səð/ like LUGH-nuh-sudh (where “gh” is pronounced as in the word "give" and the “dh” is like the “th” in “that”.) It is probably the most correct pronunciation of Lughnasadh, as Lugh or Lug is the God from Irish mythology and the one this holiday is dedicated to in the first place.
How Lammas Originated?
Lammas came from a desire of people to thank and celebrate the “father” Sun and Mother Earth for the fruits of their “love” - the harvest.
To bless the marriage of God and Goddess and ask for abundance and prosperity in the upcoming months.
It was considered that August 1st marks the first day of the Fall season. On August 2nd it was already the time to pick up the harvest and so the days of hunger and need would be over.
The holiday was widely celebrated in:
Ireland: the name Lughnasadh comes from the Irish God Lugh and is translated as “the marriage of Lugh.
Isle of Man
In Slavic countries (called “medovyi spas”)
Let’s Talk More About The Harvest.
When we hear “Lammas”, we often think about the period of harvest right away. It is the most talked about moment of Lammas or Lughnasadh but we need to truly understand what stands behind the concept of harvest.
If you are a careful reader, you have noticed I specifically say the beginning of harvest. I also want to explain more what I mean by the time of being grateful.
You see, Lammas is the day of the beginning of the harvest period and NOT the time when we are assessing the outcome and drawing conclusions of how successful we’ve been (there will be another holiday dedicated to this, called Mabon).
But the first day of harvest is the time when the quality of life changes. It is the time when it becomes predictable what expectations we can have and taste the first ripe fruits that resulted from our hard work and dedication.
Simply put, it is the moment when something you worked so hard on, finally becomes tangible and it also becomes YOURS.
A skill you were developing is almost acquired but not to the point when it becomes a reflex. The investments you’ve made are starting to produce some cash flow but still need your attention.
You also need to understand that it is not possible to continuously perfect something or wait for an opportune moment. At some point, you need to release into the world what you have the way it is and improve things on the go.
Where am I going with this philosophical deviation, you probably are wondering…
This is what the Lammas period is about. It is the time when we transition from preparation to action.
What does it mean for you in real life situation?
Lammas is the perfect time for you to do something you were afraid of doing.
It may be that you were working on a website for your very own blog but we’re too afraid to press that “publish” button, thinking it is not perfect yet.
Or you may have been writing a book but haven’t started to search for a publisher, changing and tweaking things in an attempt for it to be perfect.
You may have been doing research for a new job you always wanted or a university program you wanted to apply for but haven’t felt ready to finally made the move and submit an application.
Do you see the pattern?
Lammas is the time when you were ALREADY in the process of doing something but haven’t had the energy for the final step. And this period of the first week of August is for you to pull yourself together and make the move.
And when Mabon comes, we will be assessing the results of our actions.
"Can I celebrate Lughnasadh if I’m not pagan?"
First of all, as mentioned in my other blog posts related to the Wheel of the Year, you don’t need to be Pagan to celebrate or acknowledge the Wheel of the Year holidays.
You need to be aware of the existence of the energy of Mother Earth, its changes and shifts and how this affects our lives.
So, What Can You Do To Celebrate Lughnasadh/Lammas?
Lammas/Lughnasadh Traditions and Rituals
How To Set Up A Beautiful Lammas Altar
Lammas/Lughnasadh is a simple holiday, frankly, like many other Pagan holidays used to be.
You don't need fancy tools or even a special place dedicated to your altar. If you live in a small flat, your dining table can be your altar.
What can you decorate a Lammas Altar with?
White table cloth
Wheat or Corn Doll
Candles: golden, yellow and green colours
Baked Goods, especially fresh bread
Fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden
Any other Pagan statues of your Gods and Goddesses
Animals and Gods made of dough (see below)
Stones with carved or painted Sigils and Runes
Photos of your ancestors, or things they've left that are dear to you.
Beautiful antique elements (pots, paintings, cups)
For the complete list of correspondences, rituals, recipes and Lammas Tarot spread, check out my Lammas Printable product.
Do Some Lammas Divination Work
The period from July 31st to August 6th is the perfect time for divination work. Tarot, Runes and oracles will provide great messages, in career/money (material) and love questions (especially compatibility related).
Don’t forget to show gratitude to the Universe and Mother Earth. It is important to maintain the energy exchange, at the very least with the well-known gratitude and love practices.
Show gratitude towards others too, don’t forget to show an acknowledgement say “thank you”.
How To Make Lammas Bread
During this period, it is a great time to infuse your food and drinks with the energy of love and gratitude, as well as thank the Source and the Planet for their generosity.
Of course, the best way to celebrate this holiday is to make Lammas bread.
I am giving you this quick bread recipe that does not require a lot of products or special skills
Lammas Abundance Bread Recipe
For this little Ritual, you will need to make (not buy!) cornbread.
Lammas Bread Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup of corn flour 1 1/2 cup wheat flour 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 cup of sugar 2 tbs of cooled down melted butter 4 cups of milk 2 tsp of baking powder
Lammas Bread Preparation Instructions:
Mix flour and salt in a deep bowl.
In a separate bowl with milk add baking powder; then add sugar and butter.
Mix all the ingredients in one bowl until the consistency is that of sour cream.
It will not be similar to regular bread dough you may be making at home.
*While you are mixing, talk into the bowl about anything you want to accomplish that is related to the abundance. Whatever the abundance means to YOU. It does not have to be financial. Maybe you will feel abundant and complete when you have a large family. Then go for it.
Pour the Lammas bread dough into a baking dish (don't forget to butter the dish).
Bake for about 40-50 minutes at 360 degrees F.
When the colour is nice and golden, take the bread out and let it cool.
When you sit down for a meal, break off (not cut) a large piece of Lammas bread and say: "Large piece of bread in my hand will bring me abundance and plenty."
Don’t forget to share your food with the Gods (leave some bread in nature, the way you see fit and depending on the type of deity you are working with.)
You may want to check this book out for more information and knowledge on modern Wicca.
Lughnasadh Home Blessing and Abundance Ritual
This ritual can be done during the same time as you are making your Lammas bread.
It is done to invite luck and abundance into your home. BUT. You can change your intent to protection if you’d like.
All you need to do is set aside some dough when making your bread and create an animal figure. My suggestion is to select a farm animal due to the nature of the energy of this holiday.
When you are done, you will need to follow basic figure talisman activation steps.
I have adopted the suggestions of Vadim Zeland for this.
Animal activation steps:
Come up with a name for your animal
Take a deep breath. Now breathe into the animal, imagining giving it energy and life.
Tell the animal its name. Tell it that you love and care for it and, in exchange, it's helping you with (whatever you want to ask for).
Place the animal anywhere in the house, depending on the task you give it.
Don't forget to revisit daily and remind the animal of your love and the important task it is doing for you.
If you are not making Lammas Bread, you can simply take some flour, water and salt. Mix it all until you create the needed consistency to make your animal. Shape it and let it dry.
More on Lughnasadh Traditions and Rituals
The Last Wheat Sheaf
There are many legends, traditions and rituals related to the last wheat sheaf.
For example, in England, it was believed that the last wheat spikes bring the blessings of the spirits of fields and bread. A person that does the final wheat cuts will live in abundance and plenty all year.
But the biggest popularity had the Lughnasadh marriage ritual. A woman was given the chance to cut the last wheat spikes and bring them home with her. This promised her the marriage opportunity the same year.
Wheat Doll was the first ritual I did for Lughnasadh. While the Doll can be made to bring abundance, it is often done for protection, especially for home protection.
It was usually done with the remaining wheat straws. You take wheat stems with spikes and tie them together (spikes up) to make a body.
Then you take stems and tie them to the body making arms.
It depends on how creative you are with the rest of the doll. The doll is kept close to the entry to the house and is burnt the following year when harvest starts.
Children of Lughnasadh
It was thought to be a very good sign to conceive a baby during the Lughnasadh period. Babies conceived during the first week of August are born strong, healthy and blessed by the Gods.
During ancient times, men and women formed couples and spent time together during the period of the Lughnasadh celebration. Even if they happened to break up eventually, a child born from this union was never thought to be a shame for a young mother.
A Marriage For One Year
With this "Ritual" people wanted to aid Mother Earth in fertility, as well as honour the Gods.
During Lughnasadh, there would be a market, usually at the main square of the village.
Young men and women formed two lines and their parents went around, talked and picked a partner for their children.
After that young couple would hold hands, signifying the binding of their marriage for one year and a day. If for whatever reason their marriage didn't work out, they would have to wait for the following year's Lughnasadh market where they will stand back to back and go in different directions and this will end their marriage. After that, they are free to choose new partners.
The Wheel of the Year Holidays are always filled with special magic and charm.
It is very interesting to take a part in these celebrations but is also educational to learn about other traditions and cultures.
Have a Blessed Lughnasadh 2021!
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