LAMMAS DAY ‒ In English-speaking countries, August 1 is Lammas Day (“loaf-mass day”), the festival of the first wheat harvest of the year. In Wiccan traditions, the name Lammas is used for one of the sabbats, The festival is also known as Lughnasadh, a feast to commemorate the funeral games (Tailtean Games) of Tailtiu, foster-mother of the Irish sun-god Lugh. Lammas is a cross-quarter occurring ¼ of a year after Beltane. Lughnasadh was one of the four main festivals of the medieval Irish calendar: Imbolc at the beginning of February, Beltane on the first of May, Lughnasadh in August and Samhain in November.
The early Celtic calendar was based on the lunar, solar, and vegetative cycles, so the actual calendar date in ancient times may have varied. Lughnasadh marked the beginning of the harvest season, the ripening of first fruits, and was traditionally a time of community gatherings, market festivals, horse races and reunions with distant family and friends. Among the Irish it was a favored time for handfastings ‒ trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or later formalizing it as a more permanent marriage.
In Christian tradition 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”.
Now is a great time of year to work on honing your own talents. Learn a new craft, or get better at an old one. Put on a play, write a story or poem, take up a musical instrument, start getting crafty, or sing a song. Whatever you choose to do, this is the right season for rebirth and renewal, so set August 1 as the day to share your new skill with your friends and family.