Halloween, The Who? The What? The Why?
Hello the internet and welcome to another edition of The Sweet Scoop blogs!
This week we are writing about Halloween. Where does it originate? Why do we go trick-or-treating? What sweets and foods have been popular over the years?
Let’s start at the beginning, or close to it at least.
Halloween or Hallowe’en or All Hallows’ Eve to give it its proper name originally began as the feast celebration before All Hallows’ (Saints’) Day, a Western Christian tradition dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints, martyrs and all the faithful departed.
Many believe that Halloween began as a Celtic Harvest Festival celebration with Pagan roots, however since the spread to the US, the history of the Festival has since been all but lost. During the 20th Century the popularity of dressing up and trick-or-treating has increased significantly, with many people believing the US is the source of Halloween, and forgetting its historical roots in Europe.
In England from the Middle Ages to around the 1930’s many Christians practised the custom of “souling” where groups of “soulers” would travel from parish to parish begging for soulcakes (see below for more details) in exchange for praying for their [givers] souls.
That’s a brief bit of history out of the way… now on to the FOOD!
Below is a short list of food and sweets that have been associated with Halloween.
Bonfire Toffee – A fantastic hard and brittle toffee, made with treacle. Relatively easy to make, although I have been banned from my mother from making it as I ruined a pan and 2 baking trays!!
Toffee/Caramel Apples – Whole apples covered in a sticky toffee or caramel on a wooden stick. One of these a day will not keep the doctor away (or the dentist for that matter).
A couple of American traditions are pumpkin pies, caramel popcorn, roasted sweetcorn and roasted pumpkin seeds
And finally as mentioned above, Soul Cakes. Soul Cakes or Soulmass-cakes (somas for short) are small round cakes usually filled with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger or other spices, raisins or currants, and before baking marked with a cross.
Have a Happy Halloween from me, Tom Elgie and don’t forget to check out all our Halloween themed sweets here, at The Sweet Scoop.