Did any of you celebrate Lammas Day this past Thursday, 1 August? The original Thanksgiving day, Lammas has a centuries-old tradition in some English-speaking countries. “Lammas” comes from the Old English hlafmæsse, meaning “loaf mass”, and was a celebration to give thanks for the harvest. Everyone would bring a loaf of bread to the church on that day, made from freshly-harvested wheat; it would then be blessed by the minister as a symbol of giving thanks for the entire harvest. Perhaps this is the Eucharistic overtone admitted by J.R.R. Tolkien* in a private letter concerning the Lembas Bread of the Elves; this bread might have been based on Hardtack texture-wise, but the name itself is a clear nod to Lammas.
In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, it’s mentioned several times, where it is referred to as the feast of the first fruits. To read more about this celebration, click on the image below.
And before I close, I will also say, “Happy Birthday, Switzerland!” Thursday was also our Founding Day, the first being in 1291. It was perfect weather for fireworks, and we enjoyed the displays of towns and villages from our flat!
*Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. (1981), The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-31555-7