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The Tudor Society
  • 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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  • October Feast Days

    In the medieval period, wakes were held to mark the end of summer and to dedicate the local church. The feasting and partying could go on for days, so, in 1532, Henry VIII stamped down on this practice and ordered that the first Sunday in October was the day for local parish churches to hold their dedication service.

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  • Tudor Cooking with Claire – Soul Cakes

    As today is Halloween and it was traditional for medieval people to go “souling” at Hallowtide, I thought I’d make soul cakes. Mine are a bit more like soul “cookies” as I rolled them quite thin, but I hope you enjoy my video and why don’t you try out the recipe?

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