This Fire Festival, Lughnasad, is traditionally celebrated at the hottest time of the year, 2nd.February here in the Southern Hemisphere.
Lughnasad is the feast of the Celtic God Lugh, who gave his name to the city of London. It marks the Harvest of the cereal crops, which is earlier than that of the autumn fruits and vegetables. It later became the Christian Lammas or Loaf-mass, offerings being made of the first loaf baked and the first ale brewed from this year's crop. The Anglo-Saxons called it Thing-tide - the Thing being a kind of planning meeting, presumably to assess the extent of the food available for the coming winter, and plan for the community accordingly.
Bread and ale were the staples of the Northern European diet. While wheat was much prized, both were usually made from barley, which was a much more reliable crop. Even mixed with wheat, it makes a much heavier bread. But we would hardly recognise the heavy, well-baked stuff, our European ancestors knew as the staff of life. Much of each baking was allowed to go hard so it would keep, and was then dipped in ale or milk to soften it again.
Ale, too, was very different then, being sweet and nutritious, with poor keeping qualities. Many indigenous beers are still being made, and are similar.
Hops, which act as a preservative as well as bitters, are a comparatively recent addition to brewing, and they are what distinguishes beer from a true ale.
South Australia is renowned for its barley, and now supplies much of the world's best quality malting grain.
For a good beer or ale still starts with barley.
And the Harvest is just now coming to an end, so the timing of the Festival is perfect.
Click the picture above to learn more about Medieval ways.
HERE YOU WILL FIND INFORMATION ABOUT THE HISTORY OF BREWING
To our friends in the North, who are celebrating Brigid, Oimelc, or Candelmas - may the first hopeful signs of Spring lighten your hearts, and the lengthening days assure you that the Great Renewal is certain.
with love from Margaret RainbowWeb
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Rough Guide to Site
For more Lammas myths, legends, & origins, visit MYTHING LINKS
and The HARVEST OF THE GRAIN
THE SOUTHERN YEAR
ONE-WORLD GLOBAL CALENDAR