History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

31 October 2011


Your Regency characters might not be able to go trick-or-treating, but the next day they could go souling. All Saints' Day survived the birth of the Anglican church and was still a tradition in many rural locations. The day was dedicated to commemorating the dead.

Many households would prepare soul cakes to hand out (the gifting of food was good for the soul, and traditionally the eating of them was supposed to help the soul they were dedicated to out of purgatory, and even though the concept of purgatory had been rejected, the tradition survived). They would also have apples, hot drinks, and small coins to distribute.

The roving participants (mostly children) would go door to door in the village singing their souling song and partaking of the day's bounty .Some households may have chosen to bake cakes to be distributed to the poor (the local workhouse for example) rather than hosting visitors.

I love putting little details like this into my books. One of my favorite sources is The English Year by Steve Roud. I highly recommended it to anyone writing English-set historicals. 


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