The Tudor Society
  • Halloween and Hallowtide

    Today, the 31st October, is All Hallows Eve, more commonly known as Halloween. It is the first day of Hallowtide, which also includes the Feast of All Hallows, also known as All Saints’ Day, which is celebrated on 1st November, and the Feast of All Souls, which is celebrated on 2nd November.

    In today’s talk, I explain the origins of Hallowtide and how Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day were celebrated in medieval and Tudor England.

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  • All Souls’ Day

    In medieval and Tudor times, 2 November, the day after the Feast of All Saints, was the Feast of All Souls.

    It was a time to remember the souls in Purgatory who might not have masses or prayers being said for them, the forgotten souls. Bells would be rung the night before All Souls Day to comfort the souls and to let them know that they were being remembered and then masses were said for them on All Souls Day. Bread was baked in honour of these troubled souls and it was given out to the poor in the hope that the act of giving on behalf of these souls would help them get out of Purgatory.

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  • All Saints’ Day

    All Saints’ Day, which is also known as All Hallows or Hallowmas, is part of the three days of Hallowtide: All Hallows Eve (Halloween), All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. It was celebrated in Tudor England on 1st November every year.

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  • Halloween, All Hallows Eve and Soul Cakes

    The 31st October was and is, of course, All Hallows Eve or Halloween. Although it was a religious festival in medieval and Tudor times, it has its roots in Pagan celebrations and it comes from Samhain, the Celtic new year festival which was celebrated from sunset on 31st October to sunset on 1st November. On that night, it was believed that the veil between the world of the living and that of the dead was at its thinnest and that the souls of the dead and evil spirits could walk the earth. Church bells were rung, bonfires were lit and people wore masks to ward off these spirits and to send them on their way. Farm buildings and homes were also blessed to protect them from evil spirits and witches.

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  • Hallowtide Quiz

    Happy Hallowtide!

    How much do you know about this time of year and how and why it is celebrated? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz.

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