Saturday, 1 August 2015

Lammas and Lughnasadh ~ 1st August

Lammas )O( Lughnasadh 
~ 1st August
Northern Hemisphere
Historically, Lughnasadh was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Originally it was held on 1 August, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. However, over time the celebrations shifted to the Sundays nearest this date.

Lughnasadh is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals; along with Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane. It corresponds to other European harvest festivals such as the Welsh Gwyl Awst and the English Lammas.



Lughnasadh is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and is believed to have pagan origins. The festival itself is named after the god Lugh. It involved great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests (most notably the Tailteann Games), feasting, matchmaking and trading.

In Welsh (Cymraeg), the day is known as Calan Awst, originally a Latin term, the Calends of August in English.


August 1 is also Lammas Day (Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas, "loaf-mass"), 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, which began to be harvested at Lammastide.
In medieval times the feast was sometimes known in England and Scotland as the "Gule of August", but the meaning of "gule" is unclear.



In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1.3.19) it is observed of Juliet, "Come Lammas Eve at night shall she [Juliet] be fourteen." Since Juliet was born Lammas eve, she came before the harvest festival, which is significant since her life ended before she could reap what she had sown and enjoy the bounty of the harvest, in this case full consummation and enjoyment of her love with Romeo.




Lunastain Bread

In parts of the British Isles, the Lammas festival, or Lughnasadh, was celebrated with the baking of a cake made from the first harvested grains. While today we don’t typically harvest our own wheat, oats, barley or corn – unless you’re hardy enough to be a farmer – we can still take advantage of this tradition and bake one of these seasonal goodies, which were called Lunastain cakes. It takes its name from the Scottish word from Lammastide, lunastain.

Keep in mind that although the word “cake” conjures up images of sweet baked goods, originally it was used to mean any baked item made from grains, so your Lunastain cake can be either sweet or savory, depending on your preference. In other words, it can be similar to a traditional sweet cake, or it can be more bread-like. The choice is up to you.

Typically, the Lunastain cake was made from oats, and was called a bannock. Much like the bannocks that were served around Beltane, it was baked and then fried or toasted, and sometimes topped with freshly churned cream butter. However, the recipes vary from one region to the next, because the ingredients and methods were based upon what was handy and available.   

Recipe HERE
More recipes HERE

Love and light,
Trace
xoxo

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