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Lammas

We are now approaching the traditional time of the First Harvests, August 1st and 2nd.  This is the celebration of the Grain harvest so important for the coming dark days of winter when the earth hibernates and little grows.  The harvested grains, mainly barley and corn in those days, would be milled into flour or fermented for beer and whiskey to tide folks through winter times.  This was also a time to celebrate Lughnasadh, the Celtic Sun King or god of Light and his mother Tailltu, Queen of the Fir Bolg in Irish myth. 

During August the people joined in circle dancing to symbolise the movement of the sun, and feasting to enjoy the fruits of their work after the long days in the fields.  This was also considered a good time for weddings and engagements (handfasting).  Folk-singing and music were in the air and we now remember this in the British folk song John Barleycorn, a tribute to the cereal gods, cut down in order to feed the people.  From now on, the days would be closing in towards Winter with only two harvests left to gather in and celebrate – Mabon, and Samhain.