History Of Lammas

Lammas/Lugnasadh Comments

History Of Lammas

In medieval times the feast was sometimes known in England and Scotland as the “Gule of August”, but the meaning of “gule” is unclear. Ronald Hutton suggests following the 18th-century Welsh clergyman antiquary John Pettingall that it is merely an Anglicisation of Gŵyl Awst, the Welsh name of the “feast of August”. OED and most etymological dictionaries give it a more circuitous origin similar to gullet; from O.Fr. goulet, dim. of goule, “throat, neck,” from L. gula “throat,”. A Welsh derivation would point to a pre-Christian origin for Lammas and a link to the Gaelic festival of Lughnasadh.

Several antiquaries beginning with John Brady offered a back-construction to its being originally known as Lamb-mass, under the undocumented supposition that tenants of the Cathedral of York, dedicated to St. Peter ad Vincula, of which this is the feast, would have been required to bring a live lamb to the church,or, with John Skinner, “because Lambs then grew out of season.” This is a folk etymology, of which OED notes that it was “subsequently felt as if from LAMB + MASS“.

For many villeins, the wheat must have run low in the days before Lammas, and the new harvest began a season of plenty, of hard work and company in the fields, reaping in teams. Thus there was a spirit of celebratory play.

In the medieval agricultural year, Lammas also marked the end of the hay harvest that had begun after Midsummer. At the end of hay-making a sheep would be loosed in the meadow among the mowers, for him to keep who could catch it.

In Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet (1.3.19) it is observed of Juliet, “Come Lammas Eve at night shall she [Juliet] be fourteen.” 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.

William Hone speaks in The Every-Day Book (1838) of a later festive Lammas day sport common among Scottish farmers near Edinburgh. He says that they “build towers…leaving a hole for a flag-pole in the centre so that they may raise their colours.” When the flags over the many peat-constructed towers were raised, farmers would go to others’ towers and attempt to “level them to the ground.” A successful attempt would bring great praise. However, people were allowed to defend their towers, and so everyone was provided with a “tooting-horn” to alert nearby country folk of the impending attack and the battle would turn into a “brawl.” According to Hone, more than four people had died at this festival and many more were injured. At the day’s end, races were held, with prizes given to the townspeople.

Herbal Gifts from the Kitchen

Herbal Gifts from the Kitchen

Little Cooking Wreaths – can go right into soup pot, or hang in the kitchen to be plucked from and used

Twist chive stalks into a 4-5″ circle, forming a wreath base. Twist in sprigs of thyme, parsley, oregano, marjoram and basil seed heads,to fill out wreath. Add a short sprig of rosemary or sage. Let dry thoroughly –wreath will shrink slightly. Thread 3 or 4 dried chilies on sewing thread and tie around wreath top. If wreath is to hang,
cover thread by embellishing with a bow of kitchen twine or narrow ribbon. Present your gift in a bow-tied plastic bag to preserve flavor and minimize shattering.

Herb & Spice Blends – To present your gift, pack blends into small labeled jars with lids, attached to an herbal cookbook.

For Beef: mix 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, 2 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 tablespoon dried minced onion.

For Fish: mix 2 tablespoons dried dillweed, 2 tablespoons crumbled bay leaves, 2 tablespoons freeze-dried chives.

For Fruit Pies, Spice Cakes & Cookies: mix 2 tablespoons, 1
tablespoon ground nutmeg, 1 tablespoons ground mace, 1 tablespoon ground allspice, 2 teaspoons ground cloves, 2 teaspoons ground cardamon.

For Vegetables: mix 2 tablespoons dried oregano, 2 tablespoons dried basil.

For Poultry: mix 2 tablespoons curry powder, 2 tablespoons paprika, 2 tablespoons dried lemon rind.

For Tomato Sauce: mix 2 tablespoons crumbled basil, 2 tablespoons dried minced onions, 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon crumbled dried oregano.

For Lamb: mix 1 1/2 tablespoons dried marjoram, 1 tablespoon crumbled dried rosemary, 1 tablespoon white pepper, 2 tablespoons garlic powder.

Good Bread Herbs include your favorite white or wheat bread recipe with this blend presented in a decorated muslin bag.

Blend together 2 tablespoons dried crumbled sage, 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, 1 tablespoon dill seed, 4 teaspoons caraway seed. On gift tag: Will flavor 2 average loaves.

Citrus Spice Simmering Potpourri

Layer following ingredients in a gallon jar and add oils to
corresponding ingredients. Shake well and age 1 day before using:
Directions for Use on gift tag: Add 1/2 cup mixture to a small saucepan filled with 3 cups of water and bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 15-20 minutes. Mixture may be reused several times, after adding water to it.

1 cup 1″ cinnamon sticks 1 cup whole allspice
1 cup star anise 1 cup coriander seed
2 cups dried orange peel 1/2 cup cloves
1/2 cup crushed nutmeg 10 drops cinnamon oil
10 drops allspice oil 20 drops sweet orange oil

Lemon-y Footsoak a great treat at day’s end or for pampering someone special! Present gift with instructions for use on gift tag, tied onto a pretty jar or a plastic bag tied with a simple bow…

Crush and place in a jar, or tie in a bouquet and place in plastic bag, for presentation: 5 sprigs of fresh lemon balm or10 sprigs dried lemon balm. (Rosemary may be substituted.)Recommended Instruction Tag to read: Bring 8 cups water to boil,combine with contents in large pan or bowl, and let steep until water is warm and comfortable. Soak feet 10-20 minutes.