Posts Tagged ‘Souling’

Soul Cakes

Down into the cellar,
And see what you can find,
If the barrels are not empty,
We hope you will prove kind.
We hope you will prove kind,
With your apples and strong beer,
And we’ll come no more a-souling
Till this time next year.

Soul Cakes, Traditional British Folksong

Going to just play a tune this morning that is a bit seasonal. It’s a performance of Soul Cakes from Sting at Durham Cathedral from 2009. He also included the song on his If On a Winter’s Night album. 

The song itself comes from England in the early 1800’s, if not earlier. It was one of the souling or begging songs that were sung by the soulers— usually children or the poor– who went from door to door on Allhallowtide and Christmastide— Halloween and Christmas as we know them– offering songs and prayers for the givers’ departed family members and the givers themselves. In exchange, they were often rewarded with soul cakes which were often spice cookies with raisins or currants. Though the practice had pagan roots, the cakes were sometimes blessed by parish priests.

It’s a practice, much like mumming, that still exists in corners of the world. A little connection to our near distant past.

This is a really fine performance of the traditional song from Sting. Hope you’ll enjoy. Have a good day and if you hear me singing outside your door, you better have a cookie ready for me!

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