Our All Souls Day (Nov 2) began with Sunday morning Mass. We most always go to the last Mass of Sunday mornings, as we did on this day. What a beautiful sight it was walking into the church, with what was left of the vigil candles aglow all over the altar, each burning for each soul of every parishioner who passed away in the last year. Each burning candle had the name of the individual on it, and were meant to be taken home by the families of the lost loved one. We can only imagine how much more spectacular and moving the first mass of the weekend must have been, before any candles had been taken home, by the families they belonged to.
Later in the afternoon, we gathered around our table together, and talked a bit more about the history and purpose of All Souls Day. We also focused a bit more, on the lives and souls closer to home for us; those who have perished, who were a great influence in our life, or made a mark in some way. Those we personally knew in some way, and those who we loved so deeply and dearly, and lost, such as close family. We discussed how as Catholics, we are to pray for the souls of those people, that their souls may be purified and released from purgatory, and into the Kingdom of Heaven.
In that light, we began a new tradition. We created a scroll, listing the names of the souls of those in our lives who we have lost, and beside their name, the year of their death. This includes family and friends, and anyone who had been a significant part of our life or family in some way. This of course required really going back in years, and while we have many names down, many exact years are forgotten and still need to be researched.
This list of souls is part of our seasonal altar (or table) we have. This table area changes with the liturgical year, as well as the earth seasons. The scroll of names/souls we remember, will remain there throughout the month of November, as it is the month to remember and pray for all souls. Each year it will be brought back out in tradition, and sadly, be updated, including the new souls we must pray for. Later, we added the remembrance cards we happened to still have, to the table as well.
Then we got to making dough, for soul cakes. Soul cakes (which are more like hot cross buns) have Christian history in Halloween, and in fact are the root of how ‘trick or treat’ began. In short, these soul cakes were exchanged for prayers by the recipients of the soul cakes, who were mostly beggars and whom went to the doors of the wealthier, for the loved ones lost in the family of the givers. As the saying went:
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.
How costume wearing came to be, is also tied into this practice that began long ago, and has interestingly evolved into what it is today.
As Daddy added sprinkles of flour to prevent sticking and to get the dough to a consistency just right to form the soul cakes, the kids mostly took turns kneading the dough….
….but not always…….
Once the soul cakes were done, we enjoyed them nice and hot, with our dinner.
That concludes our Hallowtide festivities report, which in real life, concluded a week ago today! Come back again soon to see what we have in store for our blog about next. As quiet as you all are in the commenting department : ( , we know you are all out there, reading along. ; ) We appreciate your visits.