In English-speaking countries 1 August
is Lammas Day
, or loaf-mass day, the festival
of the first wheat
harvest of the year, on which day it was customary to bring to church
a loaf made from the new crop. In many parts of England, tenants were bound to present freshly harvested wheat to their landlords on or before the first day of August. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
, where it is referred to regularly, it is called "the feast of first fruits". The blessing of new fruits was performed annually in both the Eastern and Western Churches on the first
, or alternately the sixth
, of August. The Sacramentary of Pope Gregory I
) specifies the sixth.
In mediaeval times the feast was known as the "Gule of August", but the meaning of "gule" is unknown. Ronald Hutton suggests that it may be an Anglicisation of gwyl aust, the Welsh name for August 1 meaning "feast of August", but this is not certain. If so, this points to a pre-Christian origin for Lammas among the Anglo-Saxons and a link to the Gaelic holiday of Lughnasadh.
- The Stations of the Sun, Ronald Hutton, Oxford 1996