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The Friday Five - All Souls Day

I feel pretty, oh so pretty...
You may have seen me gallivanting around FB or G+ with my Dia de los Muertes avatar. I'm not Mexican or Catholic, but I'm a little (morbidly) fascinated with death customs.

To be honest I'm not real religion-y. I believe in Heaven, I'm not as scared of Hell as I should be, I haven't been to church in years, but I pray when folks want prayers and I pray for my own. I guess you'd say I'm more of a spiritual person. One thing I do take semi-seriously is a holiday that my Bapti-costal upbringing never mentioned: All Souls Day.

Here's what you may not know about it:

1) All Souls Day (November 2nd) is the day you're supposed to pray for the dead and visit their graves. Some cemeteries offer candles to place on the graves. I observe the practice of lighting a candle and placing it near a window so the lost souls can return home, which is creepy in a way because I could be inviting any soul. Unless you subscribe to the theory that only the invited ones can come inside. I do.

2) Before Reformation, it was a custom for the poor to offer prayers for the dead in exchange for money or food from the rich.

3) In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it wasn't uncommon for children go to 'souling'. They would sing a song as they traversed neighborhoods, asking for soul cakes or money. If they were given an offering, they had to say a prayer for the giver's deceased family member. Kind of like caroling, but for the dead. Which is where trick-or-treating comes in, obviously.

4) Symbols for All Souls Day include anything to do with death (particularly skulls) or fire.

5) You can totally make soul cakes, if that's your thing. Here's a simple recipe:

1 stick of butter, softened
4 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 C flour
Cream together the butter and sugar. Use a flour sifter to add the flour to the bowl, and mix until it's smooth. Divide the dough into two parts, and shape each half into a flat circle about half an inch thick. Put them on an ungreased baking sheet (baking stones are really nice for this) and poke lines with the tines of a fork, making eight separate wedges in each cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until light brown at 350 degrees.

I got the recipe from this link. There are others there too.

It's (finally) Friday. It's also Day 1 of NaNo. Go, be, do.


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