A Lesson from the Day of the Dead

Time comes to a halt on All Souls Day (Todos Santos), November 2, a day of ancient ritual. I learned that lesson when I spent the day with a Mexican family in Puebla, Mexico. To miss this celebration of death was simply unheard of. Our place was the cemetery, where the grandparents lay under thick…

Halloween: Art

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! For more on the Day of the Dead in Mexico, see my previous post: Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos)/ Day of the Dead Food-Laden Altars .

Saints, Souls, and Haints: More Soul Cakes

About All Souls’ Day (November 2), Sir James George Frazer wrote detailed notes in The Golden Bough: a Study in Magic and Religion, a classic in anthropology. Notice the mention of marigolds, also common in Mexico. In Lechrain, a district of Southern Bavaria which All Souls in existence along the valley of the Lech from…

Saints, Souls, and Haints: Soul Cakes

Trick-or-treating may well have originated in the old custom of “souling,” as people went from house to house, begging ( “mumming”) for “soul cakes,” actually prayers — in sweet form.  Sir James George Frazer wrote about this practice in The Golden Bough: a Study in Magic and Religion, a classic in anthropology, first published in…

Saints, Souls, and Haints: Cider and Curds

About All Souls’ Day (November 2), Sir James George Frazer wrote in The Golden Bough: a Study in Magic and Religion, a classic in anthropology: The day of the dead or of All Souls, and other as we call it, is commonly the second of November. Thus in Lower Brittany the souls of the departed…

Saints, Souls, and Haints: Honey Cakes

Some interesting comments from 1845 about All Souls’ Day, by Charles Knight in Penny Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (!), Volume 14, p. 441: To do a Tarentella as it ought to be done requires room, and although the palaces of the nobility and gentry be large (in ninety cases…

Saints, Souls, and Haints: Here Come the Pumpkins

Some pumpkin-laden advice from Janet McKenzie Hill, sounding like the Martha Stewart of a much earlier generation in her  Practical Cooking and Serving: a Complete Manual of How to Select, Prepare, and Serve Food (1902, p. 566): CENTREPIECE OF FRUIT FOR THANKSGIVING DINNER OR HARVEST FESTIVAL [Halloween] Select a golden-colored, medium-sized, well-shaped pumpkin. With a…