It's that time of year again and Hallowe'en is almost upon us. Ask most people about Hallowe'en and they'll say "Oh, that's American, isn't it?" This couldn't be further from the historical truth though. It is true that Hallowe'en is very popular on the other side of the Atlantic but in recent years it has become more popular in Britain again too. Perhaps we Brits have forgotten our past, since it all started here many hundreds of years ago. Or perhaps we just got confused and celebrated Bonfire Night instead!
So, where to start? Some remember the Christian festival of Holy Evening, the eve before All Saints Day but in truth this day owes more to Celtic Pagan ritual and the festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-en. Of course! Why wouldn't it be??!) which marked the end of summer.
This was believed to be a magical time when supernatural forces were in abundance, the Pagan gods walked amongst mortals and the spirits of the saints and martyrs and the souls of the dead returned to visit their earthly homes. It was also a time of divination and predictions for the future - a husband or wife to be - were made and all this was some 1,000 years before Hallowe'en was incorporated into the Christian calendar in 998 AD as All Souls Eve.
On this night, families would maintain an all-night vigil and eat little cakes (naturally 😊) known as Soul Cakes. Children would venture out knocking on doors and 'Souling' - singing songs for cakes or money. It is from this practice that the concept of Trick or Treat has developed (and you can keep up the tradition of handing out cake with my special offer below 👇👇). Indeed, many of the current habits associated with Hallowe'en have their roots firmly in the past and are associated with the seasonality of the occasion - apple ducking for example, as this was the time for windfall apples. There used to be many days in the Christian calendar when people would abstain from eating meat, we all know about fish on Fridays, and so feasting and Halloween fun and games often involved fruit and veg. The harvest was usually gathered in by then and there was plenty to go around.
So where did the concept of carving faces into pumpkins and illuminating them with candles come from? Some say that the candles were there to guide the dead who were returning for this night and that candles were placed in hollowed out pumpkins (turnips in Scotland) to subdue the light and reflect the mellowness of the season. Others maintain that the fierce and scary faces were carved to ward off demons and other supernatural spirits and this is why people, especially children, like to dress up in their scariest costumes and go out Trick or Treating on this day.
Whatever the reason, carving pumpkins is great fun and rest assured, Hallowe'en belongs as much, if not more, to the British as it does to anyone else!
If you are planning to celebrate Hallowe'en then why not order some spooky cake pops to hand out when the little monsters come calling?
I am offering my ghost and mummy cake pops at the knock down price of only £1.00 per pop!
I know, call me crazy - at this bargain price I must be!
(Minimum order of 12. Last date for orders is Sunday 28th October.)
Contact me here, to place your order, email firstname.lastname@example.org or private message the Facebook page.