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Lughnasa and Lammas: Summer Holidays Lost and Found Again

By Carolyn Emerick

For centuries two holidays were celebrated by neighboring peoples on the same day. The people were the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons, and their holidays were Lughnasa and Lammas respectively. Usually the date fell on August 1st, but there could be variations.

The Celtic Lughnasa, also spelled Lughnasadh, was thus named because it was originally associated with the god Lugh, but the festival had other names in Celtic regions outside of Ireland.

The Anglo-Saxon word Lammas evolved from the Old English hlaf-mas, meaning “loaf-mass” in honor of bread baked from the first grain harvest.

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