Sunday, 1 November 2009

Soul Cakes, Halloween Began in Britain??

Well, you get old and eventually you learn stuff. It seems Halloween came from the British, and is related to that old "soul cake" thing you heard (my beautiful bride swears she never heard this) as a child.
I just saw a BBC show this morning and Sting has released it, don't ask why, some things must be left unexplained.

Here is the story of soul cakes and halloween as told by Wikipedia:
"A Soul cake is a small round cake which is traditionally made for All Souls' Day to celebrate the dead. The cakes, often simply referred to as souls, were given out to soulers (mainly consisting of children and the poor) who would go from door to door on Hallowmas (new word to me, obviously the eve of All Souls Day) singing and saying prayers for the dead. Each cake eaten would represent a soul being freed from Purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes is often seen as the origin of modern Trick or Treating."

"The tradition of giving Soul Cakes originated in Britain during the Middle Ages, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy."

"The cakes were usually filled with allspice, nutmeg, cinammon, or other sweet spices, raisins or currants, and later were topped with the mark of a cross.[4] They were traditionally set out with glasses of wine on All Hallows Eve, and on All Saints Day children would go "souling" by calling out:

Soul, Soul, a soul cake!
I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
three for Him what made us all!
Soul Cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, anything good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, one for Paul, & three for Him who made us all.

...lyrics from A Soalin', a holiday song written and performed by Peter, Paul and Mary (1963)."
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