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Showing posts from October, 2011

Soul Cake and Souling

Soul, soul, a soul cake!
I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him what made us all!
Soul cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, anything good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, one for Paul, and three for Him who made us all.All Souls' Day is one of the feast days of the Roman Catholic Church. All Souls is observed on November 2. Special prayers are offered for the deceased souls in Purgatory, believed to be waiting. All Souls follows All Saints Day on November 1, the day on which the saints in heaven are commemorated under the assumption that the souls languishing in purgatory should also be remembered and prayed for. All Souls' was established initially by Abbot Odilo of Cluny (d. 1049). All Souls' was widely celebrated by the 13th century. All Souls' is also known as Soulmas Day or Saumas.Prior to the Protestant Reformation, it was common in England and the British I…

Halloween

And pleasant is the fairy land,
But, an eerie tale to tell,
Ay at the end of seven years
We pay a tiend to hell;
I am sae fair and fu o flesh,
I'm feard it be mysel.
But the night is Halloween, lady,
The morn is Hallowday;
Then win me, win me, an ye will,
For weel I wat ye may.
Tam Lin Child #39 In 609 Pope Boniface IV pronounced November 1 All Saints' Day. It was a day to commemorate all the saints of the church. In 837 Pope Gregory IV formally ordered the observance of All Saints' Day. All Saints n.
November 1, the day on which a Christian feast honoring all the saints is observed. Also called Allhallows (AHD). In Medieval England the day was known as Allhallows, or All Hallows' Day; the evening before was known as All Hallows' Eve, or Halloween. Hallow is a verb meaning:
1. to make holy; sanctify; consecrate.
2. to honor as holy; consider sacred; venerate: to hallow a battlefield. Hallow is fairly early and cognate with holy; it's derived from Old English …

Red Letter Day

"It's a great piece of luck, ma'am," said Mrs Belfield, "that you should happen to come here, of a holiday! If my son had not been at home, I should have been ready to cry for a week: and you might come any day the year through but a Sunday, and not meet with him any more than if he had never a home to come to."
"If Mr Belfield's home-visits are so periodical," said Cecilia, "it must be rather less, than more, difficult to meet with him."
"Why you know, ma'am," answered Mrs Belfield, "to-day is a red-letter day, so that's the reason of it."
"A red-letter day?"
"Good lack, madam, why have not you heard that my son is turned book- keeper?"
Fanny Burney. Cecilia: Or, Memoirs of an Heiress. "Red-letter day" is one of those expressions we use quite frequently without really thinking about its ancestry. Everyone knows that a "red letter day" is one that stands out as imp…

Samhain

October 31, commonly known as Halloween but still known as Samhain to any number of modern Neo Pagans, was once known as Samain in Old Irish. Samain, or Samhain as modern Irish has it, is pronounced, roughly, like the modern English noun sow (as in the word for a female pig) followed by -in; sow-in, with the emphasis on the first syllable.
Old Irish Samain becomes Modern Irish Samhain, cognate with Scottish Gaelic Samhuinn, Manx Sauin. Samain is usually derived from Old Irish sam “summer” + fuin “end.” The Old Irish sam ('summer') derives from Proto-Indo-European semo. This is somewhat unlikely as an etymology, philologically and morphologically speaking, though it is a persuasive folk etymology, and one used in the medieval Irish glosses. We know from the Coligny calendar that an earlier form of Celtic on the continent used samoni-, and did not use the compound -fuin for “end.” In 1907 Whitley Stokes argued for an etymology for Samain derived from Proto-Celtic *samani ('…

Garlic

Now Glutton begins to go to shrift
And takes his way toward the church to tell his sins.
But Betty the brewer bade him good morning
And she asked him where he was going.
"To Holy Church," he said, "to hear mass,
And then I shall be shriven and sin no more."
"I've good ale, good friend," said she. "Glutton, will you try it?"
"Have you," he asked, "any hot spices?"
"I have pepper and peony and a pound of garlic,
A farthing-worth of fennel seed for fasting days."
Piers the Plowman Passus V Piers the Plowman is a fifteenth century Middle English religious narrative. This particular passage is part of a longer section about the seven deadly sins; though this bit focusses on gluttony. Gluttony is on his way to confession, when he meets Betty the brewer. The speakers, Glutton and Betty the brewer, are discussing the use of garlic and other spices as additives to beer or ale; unfortunately, they're discussing them i…