Happy (Belated) Lammas Day

BarleyYesterday, August 1, was Lammas Day. It is not a Church holiday, but an ancient secular English holiday celebrating the early harvest. The name may come from the words "loaf" and "Mass," denoting the custom of blessing the bread made from the first-ripe wheat and barley at the Mass on August 1. As an ancient British "quarter day" it marked the beginning of the British autumn (the other markers were Candlemas-spring, May Day-summer, and All Saints Day-winter; other ways of dividing the year exist as well). The day also coincides with the old Catholic feast of St. Peter in Chains.

Specifically for Lammas Day, a good friend of mine made a special lamb and barley dish, and invited some friends over for some celtic music. Just a few days earlier (unrelated to Lammas Day), Jennifer and I baked some pumpkin bread and lit some fall candles, our little way of celebrating "autumn in July," since usually by now both of us are tired of the summer heat and ready for the crisp fall. I am always fascinated by the rhythm of the seasons, and I wish we in the United States had more common celebrations and customs like Lammas Day.