Lughnasadh (August 1) was the third Cross-Quarter Day. It celebrated the wedding of the sun god to the earth goddess which was thought to cause crops to ripen. The Church transformed the day into a day to offer the land’s first fruits. Loaves baked from new wheat was offered at a Loaf Mass which corrupted the pronunciation of Lughnasadh to Lammas. Samhain (October 31) was the final Cross-Quarter Day. It marked the beginning of winter for Celts, and historians believe that it began the Celtic calendar. Since Samhain celebrated the old year’s death, it was associated with ghosts and graveyards which linked the Eve of All Hallows (our Halloween) to this day. It also has happier associations, such as apple bobbing, which was used to foretell fortunes for the upcoming year. Samhain was a time to celebrate the lives of ancestors, pets, and other loved ones who had died. It was seen as a festival of darkness six months from Beltane (Candlemas) which was celebrated as a festival of light. All Hallows or All Saints Day was first celebrated by Pope Gregory III on November 1st to honor all saints, known and unknown.
~ Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
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