Soul Cake (right-click on the file for download)
I recall watching the CBS morning show “CBS Sunday Morning” a couple of Christmas’s ago and seeing an interview with Sting from the musical group “The Police”. He shared with the reporter about his desire to produce a “Winter” album, not for the sure purpose of raking in more money because he did traditional “Christmas” music covers. Rather he wanted to connect his fan base with his Irish roots. The song the news cast highlighted was “Soul Cake”. After hearing the song and more of the interviewed I choose to download the album. For me it has become a song I use to usher in the Christmas season.
The 1891 song contains the following lyrics:
A Soul! a Soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, 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.
A Soul cake is a small round cake which is traditionally made for All Saints Day or All Souls’ Day to celebrate the dead. The cakes, often simply referred to as souls, were given out to soulers (mainly consisting of children and the poor) who would go from door to door on Halloween singing and saying prayers for the dead. Each cake eaten would represent a soul being freed from Purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes is often seen as the origin of modern trick-or-treating. In Lancashire and in the North-east of England they were also known as Harcakes.