Thursday, December 26, 2019


God bless the master of this house 
And the mistress also 
And all the little children 
That round your table grow 
The cattle in your stable 
The dogs at your front door 
And all that dwell within your gates 
We'll wish you ten times more. 

- Verse 1 from the song Soul Cake, from Sting’s 2009 album If on a Winter's Night... Hear the song by clicking on the following link: 

Sting’s version appears to be an adaptation of the 1963 Peter, Paul and Mary song recorded as "A' Soalin". Hear it by clicking on: 
See a live performance at: 

The song was first collected as an English folk song in 1891. 

Souling is a Christian practice carried out during Allhallowtide and Christmastide. The custom was popular in England with the earliest activity reported in 1511. It is still practised to a minor extent in Sheffield and Cheshire during Allhallowtide. The custom was also popular in Wales and has counterparts in the Philippines and Portugal that are practiced to this day. Souling involved a group of people visiting local farms and cottages. The merrymakers would sing a "traditional request for apples, ale, and soul cakes. The songs were traditionally known as Souler's songs and were sung in a lamenting tone. 

A soul cake, also known as a soulmass-cake, is a small round cake which is traditionally made for Halloween, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day to commemorate the dead in the Christian tradition. The cakes, often simply referred to as souls, are given out to soulers (mainly consisting of children and the poor) who go from door to door during the days of Allhallowtide singing and saying prayers "for the souls of the givers and their friends". The practice in England, known as souling, dates to the medieval period, and was continued there until the 1930s, by both Protestant and Catholic Christians. In Sheffield and Cheshire, the custom has continued into modern times. In Lancashire and in the North-east of England soul cakes were known as Harcakes.

Soul cakes

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