by Rach Gee via SandbookNet
The Wheel of the Year is a Pagan term for the annual cycle of the Earth’s seasons. In all, there are eight festivals. They are Samhain, Midwinter (Winter Solstice), Imbolc, Ostara (Vernal Equinox), Beltane, Midsummer (Summer Solstice), Lammas, Mabon (Autumnal Equinox).
Midsummer, the longest day of the year, has come and gone. Now we approach Lammas on August 1st. Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh or Loaf Day, is the first of three harvest festivals and celebrates the first harvest and the reaping of the grain. The following two harvest festivals are the Autumn Equinox (Mabon) and Samhain (more commonly called Halloween). Lammas makes it sound as if summer is over, but it is far from finished!
On this day, it was customary to bring the church a freshly baked loaf of bread. The priest blessed the bread and it was then shared out among the congregation. In England, it was tradition for tenants to present their landlords with freshly cut wheat. These days, people may bake a loaf of bread in the shape of their chosen deity and symbolically sacrifice it along with prayers and rituals before eating it.
Lammas is a time of excitement. All around us, the world is thriving. Fresh food is growing and the sun shines. There is a feeling of adventure in the air as we prepare for the coming feasts and winter.
There are many things fun things to around Lammas. Here are just a few suggestions.
– Bake fresh bread or cakes and take them to people in your community. You may not know these people, or they may have just moved into your street.
3 Minute Bread Recipe
This can be made with or without the seeds
500g spelt flour or whole wheat flour, or a mixture of both
1 packet(s) dry yeast
450ml warm water
50g sun flower seeds (or other seeds)
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp fruit vinegar
- Dissolve the yeast in warm water.
- Mix together the flour, seeds, salt and vinegar. Add the yeast water and mix well. Do not knead and do not leave it to rise.
- Fill everything into a loaf pan and put it in the cold oven. Turn on the oven and set it at 200°C. Bake for 1 hour. Take it out of the loaf pan and bake it for another 10 minutes if necessary.
If you want your crust a bit softer, wet a kitchen towel and cover the bread with it right after it comes out of the oven. Leave it like that for about 15 minutes.
- If you grow fruit in your garden, you may want to make jams with them.
- You could donate foods, either home grown or brought, to the local church harvest festival. These foods are then donated to the needy and soup kitchens.
- Create a charmed Lammas necklace. Take a strong nylon string and thread fresh fruits, nuts (shelled), corn and liquorice pieces onto it. It is tradition to exchange them with loved ones and to eat it while the other person is wearing it!
- Create a Lammas altar. Lammas is a time to give thanks for all that we have and you may choose to build a small altar in a corner of your garden, or other place where plants thrive. It could even be a part of your window box if you have one! Colours associated with Lammas include red, gold, orange and yellow. You could choose to decorate your altar with some of your plants. Or make a corn doll. Or you could place small pieces of bread on your altar. You could also light and place candle on your altar while saying thank you for having food and water. You may also want to include a small glass or goblet of wine of cider on your altar. You may want to say a small prayer of your choosing. This short prayer says thank you for the coming harvest.
Prayer for the Grain
Fields of gold,
waves of grain,
the summer comes to a close.
The harvest is ready,
ripe for threshing,
as the sun fades into autumn.
Flour will be milled,
bread will be baked,
and we shall eat for another winter.
There are many ideas out there, all you have to do is take a look on Google. There are far more websites and ideas than I can list! Go and create something special for Lammas and, if you do, be sure to tell Sandbook. Do you celebrate any special days? If you do, take photos and tell us all about it. Until then, I wish you all a happy harvest and hope that the fruits of your labour are beautiful!
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