Lammastide: Lammas or Lughnasadh Celebrations
What to do for Lammas or Lughnasadh
As the summer season changes from warm to hot, we turn the wheel for the earth and celebrate the major sabbat of Lughnasadh or Lammas. Like many of our sabbats, it has multiples names. Lughnasadh was the Celtic name of the holiday, focusing on the God Lugh. Lughnasadh was a time of feasting, trading, ceremonies and ritual athletic competitions in honor of Lugh’s foster-mother Tailtu. The other name, Lammas, actually comes from a Christian holiday – it means loaf mass. It has been noted was a Christian celebration of the first harvest, though, at this point, it has been co-opted by Pagans (Which seems pretty fair since it’s been the other way around with many holidays).
There are several themes and ideas witches can build a celebration around, regardless of the amount of time or energy you have to spend. Create your own traditions by starting with these activities.
Lammas as the First Harvest
This is the first harvest, the harvest of corn and grain. If you didn’t plan a garden this year, and don’t have a garden from which to harvest, consider looking for a U-PICK farm. In southern California, in fall, apple picking is very popular, but there are also other options during the year. Look for blackberries in your area, they are often available during this time.
Using Wheat and Corn
This first (or early) harvest is the harvest of grain, like wheat and corn. Use seeds, nuts, oats and grains in your celebration. You can decorate with them, use them ritually, or in crafting. Wheatweaving is a traditional craft for Lughnasadh. You can check out the basics here. I suggest starting with something simple like a Brighid’s cross. You can also make these at Imbolc as well. One project I made at a Lughnasadh years ago was a simple piece of three interlocking braided circles. I made it as a protection charm, and you can too- with the intention of protecting your “harvest.”
Bread at Lammas
Lammas means loaf-mass, and some Pagans honor the corn/grain god and goddess.
Bake bread for this grain harvest of Lammas. What’s really cool about this, is that there are so many different options. You may opt for a no-knead bread for an easy possibility, or you can experiment with focaccia bread art for a more challenging activity. Use your bread in your ritual or feast, or do this intentionally as part of your celebration. You can offer the first piece to the land, or just eat it, taking the energy of the first harvest- a job well done- into your body.
Another option to honor grain is to make a corn dolly- take corn husks and make them into a shape of the woman. She’s a visual representation of the grain goddess and the first harvest. She can sit in your sacred space to remind you of the harvest, and many people burn her at another sabbat, such as Imbolc.
Wiccans often celebrate Lammas as Lughnasadh, an ancient celebration honoring the foster mother of the god Lugh. Lugh was a Celtic god, known for his wide-ranging arsenal of skills. His foster mother was Tailtiu, and upon her death he chose to honor her with funeral games, as was customary at the time. For that reason, we often see games played at Lughnasadh celebrations.
Plan a Lammas or Lughnasadh Event
Plan an event to celebrate this turning of the wheel. You can include a ritual if you like, or just plan your event around a delicious meal. Foods that are associated with Lammas and Lughnasadh include bread, corn, seeds, blackberries, as well as whatever is seasonal for you at the time. Want to do more than just a meal?
It’s also a great time for canning and preserving, as well as a time for reflection and celebration of goals achieved. You can hold your own ceremonial festival games. You can integrate both the corn and games by holding a corn-shucking contest! A fun event can be as easy as a cornhole tournament, word searches, water balloon fun, or even an online game, if you have to take your event online. It’s also a great time for canning and preserving, as well as a time for reflection and celebration of goals achieved.
If you’d like to include a ritual at your event, consider some reflection on what you’ve accomplished thus far this year. Consider an altar with local fruit, grain, ripe corn, and harvested flowers and herbs. Rather than using wine as offerings, use beer instead, especially if you can find some barley-based beer.
Here are a few other activities you might consider for your celebration:
- Barley threading craft- perfect for KIDS!
- How to bread paint
- Make a bread cornucopia (out of canned refrigerated pizza crust- SO COOL!)
- Make bread in a bag
- Tutorial for an Indian corn wreath
- Make an onion braid
- Sunflower cupcakes (in Spanish, but it’s pictorial)
As you are planning your own Lammas or Lughnasadh gathering, make sure you consider your time and energy. The sabbats are about celebration, and it’s hard to celebrate if you’re exhausted. Make sure you practice self-care as you turn the wheel.
Note: If you’re new to the craft, check out my 90 minute masterclass – it’s free.