British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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NOV. 2.]                          ALL SOULS* DAY.                                   409
Nov. 2.]                   ALL SOULS' DAY.
All Souls' Day is set apart by the Roman Catholic Church for a solemn service for the repose of the dead. In this country the day was formerly observed by ringing of the passing bell, making soul-cakes, blessing beans, and other customs. Various tenures were held by services to be per­formed on this day. The nut and apple omens of Hallow Even were continued on this day. Soul-mass cakes were given to the poor; and at Hallowasse frankincense was newly provided.—Timbs, Something for Everybody, 1861, p. 115.
From All Souls' Day to Christmas Day, Old Hob is carried about; this consists of a horse's head enveloped in a sheet, taken from door to door, accompanied by the singing of doggerel-begging rhymes.—Jour, of Arch. Assoc. 1850, vol. v. p. 253.
Formerly, at the village of Findern, the boys and girls used to go every year in the evening of All Souls' Day to the adjoining common, and light up a number of 6mall fires among the furze growing there, which they called Tindles.Gent. Mag. 1784, vol. iv. p. 836.
In this county and also in Lancashire it was in days gone by usual for the wealthy to dispense oaten cakes, called soul-mass calces, to the poor, who upon receiving them re­peated the following couplet in acknowledgment;
" God have your soul Beens and all." See Brand, Pop. Antiq. 1849, vol. i. p. 392.
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