Sunday, 3 November 2013

Happy Halloween!

The Night of the Dead when the ghosts of all our departed revisit the earth. And a time when all the witches and evil spirits are abroad.
Light bonfires on hilltops to ward off evil spirits and bang pots and pans loudly all around the village to scare away evil spirits.

Hey how for Hallow E'en
A' the witches tae be seen
Some in black and some in green
Hey how for Hallow E'en
As you can see this is a bit late.... but family commitments made it impossible for me to finish so ho hum I will finish now and go on to All Souls Day or Soulmass, 2nd Nov.
This is the day when the dead are especially prayed for
Tindle bonfires burn to light souls out of purgatory, in Lancashire huge fire were built on the hills all around the horizon on Halloween and the next day burning faggots carried around the fields. Blazing masses of straw were carried to high ground and thrown into the air. While the burning embers fell all present would knelt and prayed for their departed relatives and friends. The name Purgatory Field still clings to some of the places where this rite was held.
Soul cakes are given to visitors to the house, a big batch would have been made for this purpose. The gift of cakes was originally intended for the souls in Purgatory who needed human help because they could no longer help themselves. In the early 1900's it used to be the soulers used to adults but it became more common for the children to do the honours.
In Cheshire and Shropshire  the children would go from house to house singing the traditional song;
Soul! Soul! for a soul cake!
I pray you, good missis, a soul cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Or any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for them that made us all.
If no soul cakes are forthcoming sweets and coins can be given instead.

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