Religion Wiki
also known as Lambess
Observed by England
Type Cultural
Date 1 August
Celebrations Handfasting
Funeral Games
Observances Loaves made from the grain collected at harvest.
Related to Lughnasadh

In some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere, August 1 is Lammas Day (loaf-mass day), the festival of the first wheat harvest of the year. 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". The blessing of new 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). The Sacramentary of Pope Gregory I (died 604) specifies the sixth.

In mediæval times the feast was known as the "Gule of August", but the meaning of "gule" is unclear. Ronald Hutton suggests that it may be an Anglicisation of Gŵyl Awst, the Welsh name for August 1 meaning "feast of August", but this is not certain. If so, this points to a pre-Christian origin for Lammas among the Anglo-Saxons and a link to the Gaelic festival of Lughnasadh. 'Gule' could also come from 'Geohhol' (Old English form of 'jule') and thus Lammas Day was the 'Jule of August'.

There are several historical references to it being known as Lambess eve, such as 'Publications of the Scottish Historical Society' 1964 and this alternate name is the origin of the Lambess surname, just as Hallowmass and Christmas were also adopted as familial titles.


Lammas is a Neo-Pagan holiday, being a cross-quarter holiday between the Summer Solstice (Litha) and the Autumnal Equinox (Mabon). It is opposite Imbolc, which is celebrated on February 2nd in the northern hemisphere, and late July / early August in the southern hemisphere. Lammas takes place with the Sun near the midpoint of Leo in the tropical zodiac

Other uses

Lammas is one of the Scottish quarter days, and means sheep in Estonian and Finnish.

Lammas leaves or Lammas growth refers to a second crop of leaves produced in high summer by deciduous trees in temperate countries to replace those lost to insect damage. They often differ slightly in shape, texture and/or hairiness from the earlier leaves.


  • The Stations of the Sun, Ronald Hutton, Oxford 1996
  • (1.3.19),Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare, "Come Lammas-eve at night shall she [Juliet] be fourteen."

Lammas was originally a Celtic harvest festival which was co opted by the Catholic Church similarly to Easter, Christmas etc. Essentially, it marked the beginning of the harvest period and was marked by a feast prominently featuring new grains, mainly corn.

Since Juliet was born Lammas eve, she came before the harvest festival, which is significant since her life ended before she could reap what she had sown and enjoy the bounty of the harvest, in this case full consummation and enjoyment of her love with Romeo.

  • 'Publications of the Scottish Historical Society' 1964

See also

  • Harvest festival
  • Harvest Home
  • Ould Lammas Fair
  • Leyton Marshes

External links

cy:Gŵyl Galan Awst nn:Lammas