I hope you'll excuse me for neglecting you for the last seven decades. I'll be seventy-six this month (but I couldn't write until I was five), and at most I've visited you once every ten years. Sorry about that!
My assignment this month was to write to you, and I've been thinking about how to catch up. A lot has happened in seventy-six years. Now that I think about it, I'd rather not bore you to death so I'll stick to the events of August 1 only.
On August 1, I celebrated Lammas Day.
No, that's not just sloppy spelling. I don't mean llamas, although they're cute and probably deserve a day of observation on their own. I mean, oysters have one, why not llamas?
Does bread deserve it's own holiday? Well, there seems to be a Something Day for just about everything including sandwiches and Panini. Why not bread?
Centuries ago in Britain, Lammas Day (August 1) was celebrated toward the beginning of the harvest and is the first of the year's harvest festivals.. The name for this day, which predates the Christian Harvest festival, is the Anglo-Saxon word Hlafmaesse or Lughnasadh in Celtic.
It began as a pagan festival of Celtic origin celebrating the Irish god Lugh. Later, the Anglo-Saxons celebrated the festival of Hlafmaesse at the same time of year to mark the beginning of the harvest when prayers of were said for the first corn to be cut.
Alas, after 1752, when the calendar was changed to make August 1 ten days earlier, the popularity of Lammas Day waned because not much wheat was ready for harvest by July 21.
The powers that be just have to change things and mess everything up, don't they?
A TIME FOR TRIAL MARRIAGES
Ohh! This sounded interesting.
Lammas Day was also the time for foretelling marriages and trying out partners. Young people would agree to a trial marriage which lasted for the time the festival lasted, which was about eleven days. At the end of the celebration, if they didn't get along, they parted.
For good luck, farmers would let the first corn bread go stale and then crumble it over the corners of their barns. (Lammas superstition)
Representing the spirit of the spirit of the grain, corn dolly could be life-sized or small. "The corn dolly was a figure made from the first straw of the harvest, which was sotred during the winter and buried with the first planting of the new growing season." Rachael Bellerby https://suite.io/rachel-bellerby/x92204
This is a Scottish tradition in which the first person to cross a home's threshold brings the residents good luck for the coming year. While waiting for your first guest, the Scotts would place a slice of bread and a silver coin outside the door representing prosperity and warmth.
For you mystery buffs, here's an idea for you. In Yorkshire, the people "believed that if a loaf of bread failed to rise, it mean there was an undiscovered corpse nearby."
P.S. August 1 is also Girlfriend's Day.
You know, Dear Diary, this is been fun getting together like this, but things are really getting boring. I don't know about you, but I'm tired. I'll come back another day (some time in the next decade -- I promise). In the mean time, what is your favorite sandwich? This is also National Panini Month.