SUNDAY, AUGUST 1: Grab your favorite bread recipe and enjoy Lammas Day with English Christians, as devotees mark the wheat harvest by baking fresh loaves and offering one to God. (If you’re looking for a bread recipe, try one from CookingBread.com, or All Recipes. Even if you’re not an expert bread baker, you’ll be inspired by the tantalizing photos on these sites!) Lammas Day is primarily recognized by Christians in the UK, although historically, many followers of Christ would bring an extra loaf of bread to church on Aug. 1. (Wikipedia has details.) Many Christians would take Lammas Day to both give thanks for their newly harvested grain and to ask God’s blessing on their grains and bread. Remember that in the days before grocery stores, a staple food like bread truly was a blessing—and especially so was its core ingredient, a successful wheat crop!
Historians agree that this Christian festival was influenced by the pagan summer harvest festival, Lughnasadh—although quite surprisingly, churches didn’t officially adopt Lammas until 1843. Many churches originally held the feast of St. Peter in Chains on Aug. 1, when the faithful would bring lambs to church to be blessed. Some Catholic churches still recognize St. Peter in Chains today (Catholic.org has a page devoted to the cause), although officially, the feast was removed from the Roman calendar in 1960.
Today, some English Christians decorate churches with sheaves in honor of Lammas Day.
(By ReadTheSpirit columnist Stephanie Fenton)
(NOTE: To see more short articles about upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries, click the “RTS Magazines” tab at the top of this page and select “Religious Holidays.”)