Saturday, October 17, 2015

Feast of Samhain

So given the info from last week, most of the world agree's 
Halloween was a religious time of year for Christians. 
Or was it really? Did you ever consider,
 that Halloween is also the time of year to celebrate the environment , 
the heavens, the changing seasons more specifically,
 the midway point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice?

Witch's New Year!
The  Celtic/Pagan cultures thought of Samhain, or fall, or October as a time of celebration of a time of bounty. Samhain is an Irish word, meaning "summers end".  Samhain represents the third and final harvest of the year or "sabbat". Celtic tribes also thought of Samhain as the time of the New Year because each festival began on the "eve" of the celebrated day, so too does the new year begin on the eve of, "all hallows eve" or October 31, with the advent of winter.

People walked around at night offering prayers for the dead and then receiving cakes, "soul cakes" in exchange. So lets take our inquest a little further, Generally, a soul cake was made with whatever grain the community had available.
The cakes were more like a large cookie, called souls. They  were etched with crosses that clearly identified them as Alms for the dead and there was an expectation that a prayer would be said each time a cookie was eaten.

Here is my receipe for "souls cake":
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup of Buttermilk
Combine flour, soda, powder together. Mix sugar, eggs, butter together in a separate bowl until smooth, gently add some dry to the butter mixture, fold in, then start adding your buttermilk and mix, repeat process till all are combined. Knead slightly divide and form into rounds on a cookie sheet, sprinkle sugar on top. Make a cross on top with a butter knife. Bake at 350 for about 20  minutes depending on your oven.

Certainly the festival of Samhain, was one of the  most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Irish calendar, and this was known as the time of year when the physical and supernatural worlds were closest and magical things could happen. Samhain a time when the dead walked the earthly plain receiving their  prayers offered, and the  Faerie Folk racing out from their hallow hills, "sidhe" or faerie mounds to wreak havoc about the town.
What a fun time for all of us now to take the many elements from the old and mix with the new for a fun day and night that is modern Halloween !
Oh, and there is sooooo much more to it!!!
So until next week,

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