Long ago, Lammas was the first of three harvest festivals. In Old England, this was ‘Thanksgiving time’ (harvest time for wheat and corn), and church bells could be heard on each day of the harvest. A sacred loaf of bread was always baked from the first sheaf to be cut down by the farmers. The arrival of Lammas (hlaf-maesse, or ‘loaf mass’) marked the end of summer and the coming of autumn, the days slowly becoming shorter. It occurred in the dog days of summer when the first grains were ready to be harvested and threshed, apples and grapes were ripe for picking, and country folk were grateful for the food they had on their tables.
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