THE PAGAN SABBAT – Lammas (Lughnasadh), August 1
Lammas, also called Lughnasadh, falls at the beginning of the harvest season. Apples are ready and grain is beginning to ripen. It’s also a day for honoring Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. Learn about traditions and rituals for celebrating this first of three Pagan harvest holidays.
Lammas is all about the bounty of the early harvest. Why not celebrate with a big feast? Nothing quite says Lammas Menu like bread and other grains, as well as early fall veggies like squash, or late summer fruits such as apples. Plan your Sabbat menu and have a delicious dinner to celebrate Lammas!
At Lammas, blackberries are ripe and ready for picking. Gather up a bucketful and make a delicious blackberry cobbler for your summer celebrations!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
- 1 C sugar
- 1/3 C stick butter, softened
- 2 C flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 C milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 to 4 C fresh blackberries
- 2 Tbs sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 C boiling water
Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the flour, baking powder, milk and salt. Blend until creamy, and spread into a greased 12 x 8″ baking pan. Pour blackberries over batter, and sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon. Pour boiling water over the top, and then bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or with fresh cream.
The early harvest and the threshing of grain has been celebrated for thousands of years. Here are just a few of the customs and legends surrounding the Lammas season.
Legends and Lore of Lammas: There are a lot of myths and folklore surrounding Lammas, or Lughnasadh. Learn about some of the stories about this magical harvest Sabbat! In many cultures, there are different legends and lore surrounding Lammas (Lughnasadh). Here are a few of the stories about this magical harvest celebration from around the world.
- In Israel, the festival of Shavout commemorates the beginning of the harvest, as well as honoring the date that Moses received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. The final sheaf of wheat is brought to the rabbi for a blessing, synagogues and homes are decorated with flower, and a great feast is prepared for all to enjoy.
- The festival of Onam is celebrated in India, and people dress up in their finest clothes and give food to the poor. Onam is celebrated in honor of King Mahabali, who was a ruler of Kerala. In one story, the god Vishnu approached Mahabali dressed as a beggar, and asked for land, which Mahabali gave him. Mahabli ended up buried under the earth by Vishnu, but was allowed to return once a year, symbolizing the planting of the seed and the subsequent harvest.
- Thor’s wife, Sif, had beautiful golden hair, until Loki the prankster cut it off. Thor was so upset he wanted to kill Loki, but some dwarves spun new hair for Sif, which grew magically as soon as it touched her head. The hair of Sif is associated with the harvest, and the golden grain that grows every year.
- In the Shetland Islands, farmers believedthat grain harvesting should only take place during a waning moon. They also believed this about the fall potato crop, and the cutting of peat.
- At Lughnasadh, calves are weaned, and the first fruits are ripe, such as apples and grapes. In some Irish counties, it was believed farmers had to wait until Lughnasadh to start picking these fruits, or bad luck would befall the community.
- In some countries, Lammas is a time for warrior games and mock battles. This may hearken back to the days when a harvest festival was held, and people would come from miles around to get together. What better way for young men to show off their strength and impress the girls than by whacking away at all the competition? Games and contests are also held in honor of Lugh, the mighty Celtic craftsman god, in which artisans offer up their finest work.
- It’s become a custom to give people the gift of a pair of gloves at Lammastide. In part, it’s because winter is just around the corner, but it’s also related to an old tradition in which landowners gave their tenants a pair of gloves after the harvest. The glove is a symbol of authority and benevolence.
Deities of the Fields: Gods and Goddesses of the EarlyHarvest
In nearly every ancient culture, Lammas was a time of celebration of the agricultural significance of the season. Because of this, it was also a time when many gods and goddesses were honored. Meet some of the many deities who are connected with the early harvest season. When Lammastide rolls around, the fields are full and fertile. Crops are abundant, and the late summer harvest is ripe for the picking. This is the time when the first grains are threshed, apples are plump in the trees, and gardens are overflowing with summer bounty. In nearly every ancient culture, this was a time of celebration of the agricultural significance of the season. Because of this, it was also a time when many gods and goddesses were honored. These are some of the many deities who are connected with this earliest harvest holiday.
- Adonis (Assyrian): Adonis is a complicated god who touched many cultures. Although he’s often portrayed as Greek, his origins are in early Assyrian religion. Adonis was a god of the dying summer vegetation. In many stories, he dies and is later reborn, much like Attis and Tammuz.
- Attis (Phrygean): This lover of Cybele went mad and castrated himself, but still managed to get turned into a pine tree at the moment of his death. In some stories, Attis was in love with a Naiad, and jealous Cybele killed a tree (and subsequently the Naiad who dwelled within it), causing Attis to castrate himself in despair. Regardless, his stories often deal with the theme of rebirth and regeneration.
- Ceres (Roman): Ever wonder why crunched-up grain is called cereal? It’s named for Ceres, the Roman goddess of the harvest and grain. Not only that, she was the one who taught lowly mankind how to preserve and prepare corn and grain once it was ready for threshing. In many areas, she was a mother-type goddess who was responsible for agricultural fertility.
- Dagon (Semitic): Worshipped by an early Semitic tribe called the Amorites, Dagon was a god of fertility and agriculture. He’s also mentioned as a father-deity type in early Sumerian texts and sometimes appears as a fish god. Dagon is credited with giving the Amorites the knowledge to build the plough.
- Demeter (Greek): The Greek equivalent of Ceres, Demeter is often linked to the changing of the seasons. She is often connected to the image of the Dark Mother in late fall and early winter. When her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades, Demeter’s grief caused the earth to die for six months, until Persephone’s return.
- Lugh (Celtic): Lugh was known as a god of both skill and the distribution of talent. He is sometimes associated with midsummer because of his role as a harvest god, and during the summer solstice the crops are flourishing, waiting to be plucked from the ground at Lughnasadh.
- Mercury (Roman): Fleet of foot, Mercury was a messenger of the gods. In particular, he was a god of commerce and is associated with the grain trade. In late summer and early fall, he ran from place to place to let everyone know it was time to bring in the harvest. In Gaul, he was considered a god not only of agricultural abundance but also of commercial success.
- Neper (Egyptian): This androgynous grain deity became popular in Egypt during times of starvation. He later was seen as an aspect of Osiris, and part of the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
- Parvati (Hindu): Parvati was a consort of the god Shiva, and although she does not appear in Vedic literature, she is celebrated today as a goddess of the harvest and protector of women in the annual Gauri Festival.
- Pomona (Roman): This apple goddess is the keeper of orchards and fruit trees. Unlike many other agricultural deities, Pomona is not associated with the harvest itself, but with the flourishing of fruit trees. She is usually portrayed bearing a cornucopia or a tray of blossoming fruit.
- Tammuz (Sumerian): This Sumerian god of vegetation and crops is often associated with the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
Today’s article is from Patti Wigington on About.com.
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