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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Smith

Halloween is coming...but WHY?

Updated: May 8

October can only mean one thing...…Halloween! Fast on its heels is Bonfire Night. Two dates in the diary that conjure up cosiness, wrapping up warm and searching for comforting things to eat.

Every Halloween I also ponder...

“Why do we celebrate Halloween again??”

and never get round to looking into it…so this year I thought it would be the perfect

opportunity to actually look into it and share my VERY condensed version with you.

I was also very happy to find out CAKES were involved!

So let's go back to the beginning of this spooky celebration!

Halloween has its origins in a Celtic festival called Samhain. Part of this festival celebrated the Celtic New Year which was on 1st November. As we all know…the lead up to 1st November starts to become colder and darker. For a Celt 2000 years ago this was a time for concern…life was a lot harder during the winter months; many people suffered and died.

To help ward off coming hardships on the night of 31st October huge bonfires would be lit, prayers spoken and sacrifices made. Celts believed evil spirits came out that night and were also very concerned these spirits would recognise them and cause mischief…so cleverly disguised themselves by dressing up in animal skins.

Christianity started to spread and gradually Celts were converted from paganism to this new faith. But this did not mean the complete end to Samhain. Christians already had their own festivals at this time of year, and so the pagan rituals of Samhain were merged into the Christian festivities of All Saints Day (alholowmesse in Middle English) and All Souls Day. Christians honoured the dead on All Souls Day; another nod to the traditions of Samhain.

The old middle English...Alholowmesse became All-Hallow’s Eve and eventually Halloween.

Christians held parades in towns and villages on All Souls Day. On this day, the poor were allowed to beg to the rich for food. Richer families would give them pastries called ‘SOUL CAKE’S in return for their promise to pray for the families dead relatives.

“Going - a - souling” was eventually taken up by children around their neighbourhoods, where they would collect food, drinks and Soul Cakes.

It was only in the late 1800’s that tricks started to appear…escalating in violence…so a more organised approach started to take shape!

I’m not sure a Soul Cake would be very tasty to us…but you can rest assured that my selection of Halloween cakes are!

If you are having a Halloween party I have created a delicious Pumpkin Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for a fabulous centre piece OR some ghoulish Red Velvet Cupcakes with ghostly meringues and blood jam! Now they will definitely keep the tricksters at bay!

As ever, my cakes are all homemade by me with the finest that every mouthful is delicious!

Wishing everyone a spooktastic Halloween!


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