23rd October 2020
The current day celebration of Halloween is a long way from its Celtic origins. Originally named The Festival of Samhain, the day was marked by the Celts some 2,000 years ago to recognise the end of summer and harvest time, and the beginning of the darker, deadlier winter period.
Steeped in superstition, the tradition of Halloween has a rich history of sacrifice, costumes, dance, and of course, food.
Candy, or treats are strongly associated with Halloween. It is estimated one-quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween. Trick or treat probably dates back to early parades in England when poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. For every cake eaten, it was believed a soul was freed from purgatory. Encouraged by the church to replace the tradition of leaving food and wine out for lost souls, the distribution of soul cakes was eventually taken up by children who would roam the neighbourhoods ‘going a-souling’ where they would collect food, ale, and money.
In Australia, the popularity of Halloween has grown considerably over the past 10 years and looks considerably different from the original Celtic tradition. Succumbing to the sugary comma is an easy option, but there are interesting and, arguably, more tasty food to include in your Halloween festival.
To try your hand at saving some souls, check out some of the traditional spicy soul cakes:
Unsurprisingly, the potato was heavily featured in the Celtic festival menu. Traditionally called Boxty, add potato Pancakes to the festivities:
And what to do with your carved pumpkin? Make a keg, naturally!