Yesterday, on day 61 of 365 Days Wild I took a walk out through the barley fields at the edge of the village. It was Lammas, the festival of the first fruits, the time at which the first harvest of the year is usually taking place. In the Celtic calendar, this festival is known as Lughnasagh.
Here are some views over the barley fields:
Whilst I wandered along the footpaths alongside the fields, I collected a handful of stalks that were growing amongst the grass. I carried these with me around to the meadow where I then say and made my first ever corn dolly.
She’s nothing like I intended her to be, and she’s a bit scratty and scraggy, but I’m happy with her, all the same.
I think she looks like she’s dancing!
Corn dollies, also called Corn-Maidens, Corn-Mothers, and Old Women, have been crafted across Europe the harvest for centuries. There are many different styles of dolly, and lots of different traditions connected to them, depending on the place. Many counties, and even towns and small villages, in the UK have their own particular dolly. These include the Barton Turf dolly, from Norfolk, the Cambridgeshire Handbell, and the Yorkshire Spiral or Drop Dolly.
The corn dolly provides the spirit of the corn somewhere to reside over winter. Traditionally they would be ploughed into the first furrow the following year.
After crafting my corn dolly, I decided to have a walk along the hedgerows that enclose the meadow and that line the lanes around it. Lammas is the festival of the first fruits, and so I wanted to see what fruits might be appearing.
Here is what I spotted:
There were also a few other interesting sights on the hedgerows:
Lammas blessings, everyone. May your fruits be sweet and your harvest generous.