The first of August is the day historically set aside to celebrate the beginning of the harvest season in the British Isles, and is known variously as Lughnasadh in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man, as Gŵyl Awst in Wales, and as Lammas in England. The traditional way to celebrate is by baking a loaf of bread (Lammas literally means ‘loaf mass’). If you’re dough-confident, you could try your hand at a sheaf-shaped loaf to symbolise the first wheat and corn gathered in, or experiment with ancient grains like spelt, emmer or einkorn. Or, if you’re just dipping your toe into bread making, give less demanding soda bread or flatbreads a try.
Looking to the sky, one of the most impressive meteor showers of the year occurs in August. Weather permitting, you’ll spot the Perseids – the debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle on its 133-year orbit of the sun – at their peak on the night between the twelfth and thirteenth of August. Unfortunately, in 2022, this is around about the time of the full moon, which will obscure some of the spectacle with its brightness. It’s still worth keep an eye out though – you’ll potentially see ‘shooting stars’ from sunset, although the best time will be between midnight and dawn.
Last but certainly not least, August is of course well known for its bank holiday – the end-of-season opportunity in Britain to soak up the last of the summer holiday atmosphere. A visit to the seaside is the usual go-to, and with the seas around our coastline now at their warmest, a spot of paddling or swimming wouldn’t go amiss. You could also take a leaf out of the Swedes’ book and hold a kräftskiva, a crayfish party thrown to celebrate the end of summer. As well as the crustaceans themselves (cooked with dill in ale), you’ll need paper hats and bibs, crayfish-themed décor, and snaps (flavoured shots of aquavit), which are generally drunk accompanied by merry singing. With the party stretching into the night, it’s a very fitting way to end the summer.