Lughnasadh marks the halfway point between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. It is the first of three harvest festivals.
Lughnasadh signifies the beginning of the harvest season and is the first of three harvest festivals. This holiday is sometimes referred to as “Lammas” or “Lammas Day” and is traditionally celebrated on August 1st. Marking the halfway point between the summer solstice and autumn equinox, Lughnasadh reminds us that change and transition are on their way. In the Celtic tradition, it is one of four main holidays, the others including Imbolc, Beltane, and Samhain. This is a time for gatherings and markets, spending time with loved ones, and giving thanks. Our gardens have grown and provided for us over the last several months, now it is our time to give back and honor our crops.
As Lughnasadh occurs, we begin to notice subtle changes in the world around us. The days are slowly becoming shorter and the yards that were once lush green are losing their color. Leisurely crops such as carrots, berries, and grains are beginning to mature and wait for their harvest. Soon the sun will leave us and we will be left with the long, cold nights of winter. While we prepare for the colder months ahead, it's important to get our last summer activities in before the season gives way to autumn. Lughnasadh is centered around transition and being prepared. In the olden days, when people relied heavily on crops from their garden to survive, this holiday allowed families to get ready for what was to come by acknowledging any last-minute planting that needed to be done. We can also prepare ourselves mentally for the seasons that follow. Many of us suffer from some form of seasonal depression. Lughnasadh encourages us to get out and soak up the sun's rays before we lose our chance.
One common tradition for celebrating Lughasadh is to make bread. The Old English word for Lammas translates into “loaf mass”, which paid tribute to the grains provided. It was believed that if farmers had to harvest their grains before Lughasadh, it was a sign of bad luck and possible starvation. It signified they had run out of food for this year and needed to tap into next year's harvest. Because of this, wheat and grains were considered sacred during this time. Often people would bake loaves of bread in honor of these staple foods. On the day of the celebration, farmers would harvest their grains and begin to process them for baking. Later in the evening, the aroma of bread and other baked goods would fill the air.
Herbs for Lughnasadh:
Plants for Lughnasadh:
Ways to Celebrate Lughnasadh:
- Make bread
- Leave garden offerings
- Prepare house and heart for autumn
- Tend to your garden and crops
- Soak up the sun
- Gatherings with loved ones
Make Your Own Traditional Bread for Lughnasadh with Amanda Furbee:
This recipe was modified from Delishably.
Here’s what ingredients you will need for your Traditional Bread:
- 3/4 cup milk (optional: substitute water or oat milk)
- 1 package of dry instant yeast
- 1/4 Cup of milky oats herbal infused honey (Check out our blog on infusing honey here)
- 3 & 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour, or gluten-free flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 & 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 2 oz seeds or dried herbs like rosemary or sage
- Extra oil for greasing bowls
- Extra flour for kneading
To Make Your Own Traditional Bread:
Step 1: Making the Dough
- Heat the milk to about 110 degrees. It's essential to use a thermometer to measure the temperature because if it is too hot, it will kill the yeast, and if it's not hot enough, it won't get the little guys working well enough.
- Mix in about 1 Tbsp. of the honey into the milk. Add the yeast, then mix until smooth. Let it stand for about 15 minutes until the yeast starts to ferment and look foamy.
- Get a large bowl and add the 2 eggs and beat them. Combine the remaining honey, oil, and salt, and whisk until smooth and any granules are dissolved. Then, add in your foamy honey and yeast mixture and mix well.
- Sift the flour using a sifter, or put it in a bowl and whisk it dry—this will aerate it. After it is sifted, begin adding the flour to the wet mix, one cup at a time to combine.
- Use a big spoon or dough scraper to scrape the flour from the sides of the dough into the center repeatedly until it incorporates all the flour and holds it together.
Step 2: Kneading the Dough
- Sprinkle a little bit of flour onto a clean, smooth surface. Rub a little on your hands as well to prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface. It will stick, especially at first, but don't worry about it. You want to use the flour sparingly. If it sticks to the counter, periodically use a dough scraper or spatula to scrape it up.
- Begin kneading the dough.
Chant or sing a meaningful song as you knead. Think of the blessings you wish to infuse in the bread like health, happiness, and success. Mentally 'pour' that energy into the bread. In our home, we take turns kneading.
Are you ever really dead?
We find you ever-living
In our bread, in our bread.
Bless the dough
Bless the bread
Bless the diners
In their lives ahead
- Knead for about 15 minutes (or longer if you like—you'd have to knead all day to overwork the dough). The dough is ready when it's smooth and silky looking, and it's not sticky anymore. Give it the 'window' test by ripping off a golf ball-sized piece and stretching it—if it stretches into a thin, translucent membrane without breaking or cracking, it's good.
- Form a neat dough ball.
Step 3: Letting the Dough Rise
- Grease a large bowl lightly.
- Put the dough in the bowl, then cover it with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel.
- Put it in a warm place to rise for 90 to 120 minutes until it's more than doubled in size. If you prefer, put it in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight to rise.
- About 10 minutes before the bread is expected to finish rising, set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Step 4: Preparing the Dough for Baking
- Oil your baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper if preferred.
- Shape the dough on the pan roughly into a man shape. I do this by making 1/4 of it into a round head and shaping the remaining 3/4 into a sort of rough rectangle shape. Then I cut into the sides of the rectangle to make two arms, spread them out, and cut into the bottom of the rectangle to separate the two legs.
- If you like, use bits of dough to make decorations or features on the bread man—little eyes or solar symbols.
- Let it rise a second time for 15 minutes. Cover it with a towel and put it in a warm place (not on top of the stove; it might start cooking). This will help smooth out the form of the bread man.
- Beat an egg yolk with one Tbsp. of milk. Brush it over the bread. This will help it brown beautifully.
- Sprinkle the bread if desired, with seeds (poppy, sesame, sunflower, etc.) or dried herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, etc.).
Step 5: Baking the Bread
- Put the bread in the oven. Bake it for 35 to 45 minutes until it sounds hollow when you tap it. It should brown nicely, but if it browns too soon, you can cover it with foil.
- Take it out of the oven and let it cool until you can handle it. Serve hot or wrap it in foil and cover it with a towel to keep it warm until dinner time. Enjoy your celebration in traditional style!
We take great pleasure in creating products and recipes for you. However, if you are interested in going more in-depth to make all of your own herbal products, we will be offering our Make Your Own Product Series as a recorded class in the future.
To set up an herbal consultation with Amanda, email: email@example.com