Monday 1 August 2011

Happy Lammas.

Being a good ole country boy I always try to celebrate the cycle of nature.

Today is LAMMAS (sometimes called 'Loaf Mass'); one of the countryside's more important festivals, where we celebrate the new wheat harvest. Traditionally it's on August 1st when we bake and eat our first loaves of bread made with flour from the recently harvested wheat crop. It's the celebration of a good harvest, of thanks for nature's bounty, and a wink at the necessary ingredients of sun and rain from the sky above.

Here in France, HUGE Lammas-style round loaves used to be baked that would last any decent sized family a whole week. In deference to more ancient beliefs, a cross was (and still is) drawn across the bottom of such loves with the bread knife, before the first slice was removed.

When I buy large round loaves I always continue this tradition, regardless of its significance; a little like not walking under ladders.



  1. There's nothing like fresh bread from the boulangerie

  2. Hello:
    Wonderful. We love to think of traditions such as this one being upheld. Enjoy - it looks delicious.

  3. I KNEW you were a closet Christian.

  4. I'd like to keep a couple myself for the wool...

    ...either them or Alpaca's.

  5. The Anglo Saxons of England also have a Festival at this time of the year on August 1st which is called Lammas meaning ‘loaf mass’ and it is plausible to believe that the festival of Lughnasa was renamed by them to Lammas and given a Christian name. For none of the other Germanic or Nordic peoples celebrated Lammas and the 1st August seems to have had no outstanding significance for them.

    Lughnasa as the name implies is dedicated to Lugh - a Sun God.
    Unlike the other three quarter festivals which start on the previous eve. The old Lughnasa went on for 15 days. Apart from being a time of merrymaking and horse racing to celebrate the beginning of the Harvest. This festival was also a time of arbitration and judgement for it was at this time that the Brehons gathered at Tara; many scholars now believe that The High King of Ireland was chosen and crowned at this time and others say Samhain!

    The earliest known name for the Lughnasadh Festival was Brón Trogain.

  6. Ahh! now there you go, I'm up north and the wind is blowing off the atlantic and the guinness and whiskey are flowing...give us a wee song fella!

    "At the Ould Lammas Fair, boys, were you ever there.
    Were you ever at the fair in Ballycastle 0?
    Did you treat your Mary Ann to dulse and yellow man
    At the Ould Lammas Fair at Ballycastle 0?"

    dulse and yellow man....yum!

  7. Those crusty breads are my favorite. Though sometimes they do remind me of the flavor of communion disks.

  8. What a wonderful tradition. I enjoyed learning about it. Thanks.

  9. Beautiful chewy yeasty bread. Yum. That sounds like the kind of tradition I could sink my teeth into.

  10. Delicious bread and the tradition of the sign of the cross is very symbolic.
    Thank you for sharing this festival with us.

  11. I should always plan to read your blog around lunch time. Your pictures of food always wet my appetite.

  12. What a lovely tradition. I love the crosses on the loaves. Slice me a nice thick piece, please.

  13. Bread-baking has slowed to a halt in our house Cro until the dog-days of summer are over. Too hot to turn on the oven unless absolutely necessary (as in to bake a peach pie). I'm looking forward to cooler days when the smell of yeast and flour can fill the house once again!

  14. I wish your baker lived near us - that bread looks gorgeous.


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