02 November 2006


The name "Hallowe'en" is a a corruption of "All Hallow's Eve," which is the night before All Saint's Day, November 1. The following day, today, is All Souls' Day, where prayers are said for those who have died. The entire period is called "Hallowtide."


123Holiday.net's All Souls' Day Page
During the 19th and 20th centuries children would go "souling"—rather like carol singing—requesting alms or soul cakes:
A soul, a soul, a soul cake.
Please good missus a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry.
Up with your kettles and down with your pans,
Give us an answer and we'll be gone.
Little Jack, Jack sat on his gate,
Crying for butter to butter his cake.
One for St. Peter, two for St. Paul,
Three for the man who made us all.
The "Soulers" would go around the houses singing this song. Soul-caking has survived throughout the west Midlands, from Coventry to Manchester to Sheffield.

From Woodlands Junior School's Facts About November.

"Souling" is thought to be one of the origins of "trick or treating" on Hallowe'en.

Additional lyrics:
God Bless the master of this house, the mistress also,
And all the little children who around your table grow.
Likewise your men and maidens, your cattle and your store,
And all that dwells within your gates we wish you ten times more.

The lanes are very dirty and my shoes are very thin.
I've got a little pocket I can put a penny in.
If you haven't got a penny, a ha' penny will do;
If you haven't got a ha' penny, then God bless you.
You can see that it shares some similar lyrics with the round "Christmas Is Coming (The Goose Is Getting Fat)."

Here's a soul cake recipe:


3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup caster/superfine sugar
4 cups plain flour, sifted
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons currants
a little milk


- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale in colour and fluffy in texture.
- Beat in the egg yolks.
- Fold in the sifted flour and spices.
- Stir in the currants.
- Add enough milk to make a soft dough.
- Form into flat cakes and mark each top with a cross.
- Bake on a well-greased baking tray in a hot oven until golden."

Peter, Paul and Mary sing "A Soalin'" (sic) on their "Holiday Celebration" CD.

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