Lammas

(1 August) The festival of the first fruits of harvest. The word is 'Loaf' mass Day, OE hlaf-maesse. Bread made from the early grain, the first fruits, was offered, as the name of the festival implies. In Welsh, it is Gwyl Awst (August Feast), but in Ireland it was the feast of the sun-god Lugh, or Lleu, best known as Lughnassad, the celebration of which had a definite bearing on the yield of corn, milk, fruit, etc., throughout the land, and the results would be bad if any of the rites were neglected (Spence. 1949).

The first Sunday in August is Lammas Sunday, the first Sunday of Harvest, often called Garland Sunday, or even Garlic Sunday (Hull). Other names for the day in Ireland are more concerned with our main purpose, for this is BILBERRY Sunday, or Blaeberry, Fraughan, Whort, Hurt or Heatherberry, or even Mulberry, Sunday, all names for bilberries, and that includes mulberry, which is what bilberries are called in parts of County Donegal (Mac Neill). This is the day for the ritual picking of bilberries on the mountain tops in Ireland, which would be put into little rush baskets made on the spot. The day was recognised as a legitimate time for courting, as the comment that "many a lad met his wife on Blaeberry Sunday" shows (E E Evans. 1957). It was the custom for the boys to make bracelets of bilberries for the girls; they were worn while they were on top of the hill, but left behind when it was time to go home.

Laportea stimulans > MALAY NETTLE TREE LARCH

i.e., COMMON, or EUROPEAN, LARCH (Larix decidua) After a mare had foaled, it was the custom in parts of Yorkshre to hang the afterbirth on a larch tree, to bring good luck and good health to the foal (Drury. 1985). According to Beard, a sacred larch stood at Nauders, in the Tyrol, until 1859. Whenever it was cut, it was thought to bleed, and it was held that the woodman's axe inflicted an invisible wound on his own body at the same depth as that he had given to the tree, the effects of which would not cease until the bark had closed over the gash in the trunk. It was said that children, especially boys, were brought forth from this tree. Crying or screaming near it was taken to be a serious misdemeanour, and quarrelling or cursing was looked on as an offence that called to heaven for instant punishment. It is said that God created two trees when he created the earth and man: a male, larch, and a female, a fir (Joseph Campbell).

Larix decidua > LARCH

Larix sibirica > SIBERIAN LARCH

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