Friday, 13 April 2012

A-Z Challenge: L is for Lammas

From Wikipedia:

"In some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere, August 1 is Lammas Day (Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mass, "loaf-mas"), the festival of the wheat harvest, and is the first harvest festival of the year. On this day it was customary to bring to church a loaf made from the new crop, which began to be harvested at Lammastide. The loaf was blessed, and in Anglo-Saxon England it might be employed afterwards to work magic: A book of Anglo-Saxon charms directed that the lammas bread be broken into four bits, which were to be placed at the four corners of the barn, to protect the garnered grain. 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". The blessing of first fruits was performed annually in both the Eastern and Western Churches on the first or the sixth of August (the latter being the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ)."

It has also been noted that the word 'Lammas' may have originated from 'Lattermath', meaning a second mowing.  Lammas land was land enclosed and held until Lammas, when it was thrown open for grazing.  And the part I like the most? "There was once an old saying: 'at latter Lammas', meaning 'never'. [Terrick Fitzhugh, Dictionary of Genealogy, p164]

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