Today is All Souls’ Day.
In parts of England it used to be customary, on this day, for children to go from door to door begging for pastries called soul-cakes. Sometimes they were given fruit or coins instead. Just like Halloween and The Day of the Dead, symbolically these were treats put out for the dead to appease their souls when they came back to earth for a day. But it seems it’s also a promise from the person receiving the soul-cakes to pray for the dead relatives of the giver of the soul-cakes to help their relatives’ souls go from purgatory to heaven.
Here’s a song kids would sing for All Souls Day when they were begging for treats…
A Souling Song
A soul, a soul, for a soul cake!
Please, good missus, a soul cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry
Any good thing to make us all merry
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.
Here’s a link to more lyrics and sheet music for A Souling Song
Here’s a midi of the Souling Song
I’ve read that some children still go out begging on All Souls Day. Nowadays, they go out in disguise. It’s similar to trick-or-treating on Halloween.
I welcome comments from anyone from England about how common it is to go out soul-caking in the 21st century. Please comment below to let me know!
And meanwhile, Happy All Souls Day!
This artilce was posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005 at 3:43 pm and is filed under A Souling Song, British Folk Songs, English, Folk Songs, Great Britain, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Songs by Theme, Souls Day, Souls Day Songs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.