Friday, June 26, 2015

New Window display for Lammas

Pictured above: This amazing corn dolly is one of the main parts of the display.  Here it is waiting to go into the window and taking in a beautiful evening outside the Museum in Boscastle.

Lammas or Lughnasadh
1st August
Lammas or Lughnasadh is one of the four cross quarter days celebrated by witches.

This ancient festival marks the point half way between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox.

It celebrates the first grain harvest and is named after the Celtic God Lugh.

The Anglo-Saxon name of this festival is Hlafmesse meaning “loaf-mass”.

On Lammas day in 1940 witches gathered in the New Forest to raise a “cone of power” to prevent Hitler’s troops invading England. The assembly included Gerald Gardner and Old Dorothy Clutterbuck and several other renowned witches,

Traditionally Lammas is celebrated by taking a spiral path to the summit of a Lammas hill such as Silbury Hill  or Glastonbury Tor.

To mark Lammas, we have changed our window display so that the stag's antlers are adorned with wonderful straw or corn art made by Gillian Nott (who will be here in August to make items outside the Museum and also in September for a daylong straw workshop - email the Museum if you would like to take part in the latter).

Pictured above: examples of the types of straw art on display in the window.

Pictured below: the straw art hanging in the window.

Information from the window display follows:

Straw Art
Straw or corn art was made around the time of the harvest perhaps as a way of saying thank-you for the crops. 

 When harvesting, farmers will often leave the last stand of corn as it contains the spirit of the crop. In some parts of the country this will be cut by ritually throwing sickles. The corn would then be used to decorate the farmhouse for “Harvest Home”, and be made into a corn dolly to protect the home and guarantee the crops for the next season.  

Corn Dolly Poem by Minnie Lambeth
 "Tis but a thing of straw" They say,
Yet even straw can sturdy be
Plaited into doll like me.
And in the days of long ago
To help the seeds once more grow
I was an offering to the gods.
A very simple way indeed
Of asking them to intercede
That barn and granary o'erflow
At harvest time, with fruit and corn
To fill again Amalthea's horn.

Above: Amalthea's horn

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