Anglo-Saxon Gods

Bede observed that it was necessary to change only a small aspect of a festival, for heathen practices to become Christian worship. For example, the charming of the plough became the blessing of the plough (Plough Sunday – first Sunday after Epiphany) while Lughnasadh is now Lammas, the harvest festival. Lammas was the day in which loaves of bread were consecrated, the name deriving from the Old English hláfmæsse (The name is derived from the words for loaf and mass, but even this was amended to lamb and mass, to underscore the Christian connotations). The later festival of celebrating the harvest is also appropriated from the Saxon word: hær[ƀ]fest. However hard the Christian missionaries tried to displace (and then eradicate completely) the Saxon ceremonies, there are some that remain untouched. I don’t propose to look at all the seasons here; just a couple of celebrations that are still prominent in our modern calendar.

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