Lammas-day is the name of a festival observed by Roman Catholics on the 1st of August, in memory of the imprisonment of St. Peter, and otherwise called St. Peter's chains. The word is of doubtful meaning: some refer it to a Saxon term signifying contribution. Brande, in his "Antiquities," says, "Some suppose it is called Lammas-day, quasi Lamb-masse, because on that day the tenants that held lands of the cathedral church at York were bound by their tenure to bring a live lamb into the church at high mass on that day." More probably however, is its derivation from "loaf-mass," it having been the custom of the Saxons to offer on this day (August 1) an oblation of loaves made of new wheat. Like many other Church festivals, it seems to have been observed already in pagan times, and, like the 1st of May, was a festive day with the Druids. Vallancey, in his Collectanea De Rebus Hibernicis, says the Druids celebrated the 1st of August as the day of the oblation of grain. See Farrar, Eccles. Dict. s.v.; Taylor, Ancient Christianity, Genesis Suppl. page 92, Eadie, Eccles. Dict. s.v.

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