Lammas (or Lughnasadh) is a celebration in honor of the Sun and for the first harvest on the 1st of August. It is customary to express gratitude to nature and to the earth. Worshiping Gods of the Sun and Light is also a common element on Lammas. The sun is the main symbol of Lammas and the whole month, dominated by yellow or sometimes golden light colors.
Lammas is the Celtic celebration of harvest. On this day, ancient Celts thanked Mother Earth and all the Gods who have helped sow and grow crops. In addition, they organized festivals with fun sport events, because this day symbolizes good health and physical strength.
Mother Earth is generous and we thank her for her offerings. We place fresh bread on clean holiday napkins on our altars and ask that the harvests of the generous Mother Earth will be enough for all living creatures. This is a holiday of the sun and the sunlight that is especially bright in this month. The garden harvests flourish with the golden light of the sun, promising a well fed winter season. Lammas is a male’s Sabbat, the celebration of warriors, time for competition in strength and agility. This is the time where people are at their best shape.
This is a time for us to think about our hopes and fears. We hope that we will be able to collect and eat all of the things that we grew with so much difficulty – but a lot can happen, such as a storm or a drought. We need to cut the plants of which we have been taking care of, in order to harvest. We mourn and grieve the spirit of grain. We honor the plants because thanks to them we get to live on this earth.
This Wiccan holiday has many different names, and is celebrated by many across the world, although the meaning stays the same. Firstly, Lammas is a celebration of the first harvest and the expression of hope that the entire crop will be plentiful this year, and there will be no shortage in winter. Secondly, it is a time for preparing storage for future crops and harvests.
Lammas also symbolizes the strength and maturity of God. Take a look at the Wheel of the Year. God has been born in the Winter Solstice. On Imbolc he is a little boy. During the Spring Equinox, he is a teenager until Beltane. At midsummer he just matured while on Lammas the forces culminate to full maturity. By Mabon his hair will be gray, and on Samhain he will be an old man and leave this world to be reborn on the Feast of the Dead.
This time of the year it is evident that the days get shorter. Tree leaves will start turning yellow. On the day of Lammas God gives his strength to us, his children. This strength is within the crops, warmed by the sun’s light and in the wealthy seeds. This is a good time for marriage between two loving people.
- Other names for Lammas: Lughnassadh, Corn Festival, Celebration of the First Harvest, Bread Feast, August Eve.
- Symbolism: First harvest, worship the parental deities, worship of the Sun Gods and Goddesses.
- Gods & deities: Sun Gods, Mother Goddess and Father Goddesses. Particular emphasis on Lugh, Demeter, Ceres.
- Decorations: Corn, all grains, doll heads, sun wheel, special loaf of bread, wheat, full moon.
- Stones: Yellow diamonds, aventurine, sardonyx, peridot and citrine.
- Plants: Corn, rice, wheat, rye, ginseng, acacia flowers, aloe, cyclamen, fenugreek, frankincense, heather, myrtle, oak leaves, sunflowers.
- Smells: Rose, aloe, rosehip berries, rosemary, chamomile, passionflower, frankincense and sandalwood.
- Colors: Yellow, green, orange, gold, red, brown.
- Food: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries, bread, lamb, pastries, rice and corn.
- Animals: Horse, all birds.
- Mythical creatures: Phoenix, dragon, griffin.
The word Lammas comes from a combination of two Old English words “bread” and “Mass” which is a Christianized name for the feast of the first harvest.
About Lammas altar
Your Wiccan altar should be decorated with a bit of fruits and vegetables that are ripe at this season. You can add items that symbolize your abilities such as a book or a picture. Bread in the shape of the sun, or a person (as a symbol of God) can also be used during a simple meal in a ritual. Corn dolls symbolize the Goddess and are also a nice addition to the altar.
One part of the Lammas altar can symbolize your hopes. Look for pictures in magazines and make a map of hope. The second part of the altar can symbolize your fears. Draw pictures of your fears, fold them and burn them in a ritual to get rid of these fears.
Goddess in Lammas
The Goddess is the Mother of the Harvest on Lammas. She is strong and her face is darkened by the sun and wind. She carries a sickle and a basket of fruit, vegetables and corn cobs. She knows that in order to eat bread, we must cut off the ears of corn. In fact, if we had not cut them, they would have died anyway because it’s the only way to ensure the harvest in the following year.
We call upon the Mother of Harvest when we need to take difficult decisions and carry out complex choices. We need to face our fears, as it gives us strength to do what must be done. Tell the truth, even if it hurts and learn to say “no” to people who are incorrect. The Goddess loves us, she brings us food, prosperity and abundance – everything that we need for life and growth.
God in Lammas
The God is Lugh on Lammas, who is also called Samildanach. He is the God of all types of creativity and arts. In this time of year when we feel as the sun begins to wane and the days get shorter, Lugh is already halfway to the Underworld. It is where ideas are created, where they come from dreams and inspire the Spirit, and get introduced into our world, day and night through our own work, our talents and our creativity. Games with winners having abilities and powers were held in ancient times in Lugh’s honor.
Lugh is known as long armed, because of the long sun rays. He always reaches out to us with warmth and comfort. We can feel closer to God in this time of year, using our talents, doing creative work, playing music and other similar things.