Yesterday the office temperature dropped dramatically. Anna was still aching from the #greatscottishrun and the maintenance boys were out clearing the gutters. Christmas has exploded into the shops, it’s judges houses on the X-Factor and the October holidays are within reach. All of this can mean only one thing – It’s nearly Halloween!
Halloween (or all Hallows' eve) is the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day, a time for people to remember the saints (hallows), the martyrs and those who have passed on. It is understood that this Christian practice replaced the old Pagan ways, mainly the Gaelic festival Samhain which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the ‘dark half of the year’. This opening to the dark half, as many believed, was the time of year when the veil between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest – a time when not only did the spirits of the dead return to visit but the fairies were also let in.
The spirits and the fairies were equally respected and feared and the belief was that they must be celebrated as well as placated with gifts of food and drink or bad luck would bestow the family. Being a mischievous lot, the fairies would play pranks and cause trouble if they weren’t satisfied with their gifts. Places were set at the table for the departed and candles were lit from the graves to every room in the house in order guide the spirits home from the afterlife. Church services were held, hearty meals prepared and games planned to honour the occasion.
Some Christians abstained from eating meat on Halloween leading to an English tradition of eating apples, potato pancakes and soul cakes and children earned their treats by ‘souling’ or going door-to-door offering songs and prayers for the dead. Those with Celtic origins would dress up as ghosts and carry lanterns carved from turnips so that the spirits would not harm them and tricks and pranks were played throughout the night. This mix of cultures gradually combined in the early 19th century to give us the tradition of guising.
Wherever you come from food has always been a big part of Halloween and if you’re interested in serving up a traditional Halloween dish this year we’ve found great recipes for soul cakes, potato pancakes, Scottish cranachan (made with seasonal raspberries, cream and whiskey) and not forgetting the good old toffee apples. Just click on the dark grey link for more information.
The popularity of cupcakes is catching on year by year. Orders are starting to filter in for our pre-designed Halloween range and now is a good time to order your cupcake toppers to make this years Halloween unique. You can also upload your own images either using our new ‘Design Your Own Toppers’ tool for a speedier delivery or if you’d rather we do it for you, through our ‘personalised toppers’ service.
Whatever you decide to do this Halloween - Happy Haunting