Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Souling Songs

We sang these two songs. the first "soul cake" sang by children and the second comes from a mummers play from Cheshire. These players were performed by adults going from public house to public house in return for money food and beer. the origins of "trick or treat". Most counties will have had their own traditional players and songs. i tried to find one from Devon but sadly no luck.
However, i had the joy to take my daughter and her friends out "trick or treating", all had attended the souling day and sang "soul cake" unprompted as we walked. A success in my eyes to bring alive again these beautiful traditions.


soul cake, soul cake,
please good missus a soul cake.
an apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
any good thing to make the heart merry.

soul cake, soul cake,
please good missus a soul cake,
one for peter, two for paul,
three for them who made us all

Oh bless the master of this house,
and the missus also,
and all the little children,
who round your table grow.

the cattle in your stable,
the dogs at your front door,
all who dwell within your gates,
we wish you ten times more.


Go down into your cellar,
 to see what you may find,
if your barrels aren't to empty,
 we hope that you'll be kind.

be kind with an apple,
 or maybe a pear,
then we'll come no more a souling,
until this time next year.


the streets are very dirty,
my shoes are very thin.
I've got a little pocket
 to put a penny in.

if you haven't got a penny,
a ha'penny will do.
if you haven't got a ha'penny
then I'll bless you.



oh we are one two three good hearty lads and we're all in one mind
for we have come a souling good nature to find
for we have come a souling for your money and your beer
then we'll come no more so nigh to you till this time next year.

go down unto your cellar boys and there you will find
some strong beer some cider some ale or port wine
with your white bread and cheese it will fill us with cheer
then we'll come no more so nigh to you till this time next year.


oh come dearest mistress do not tally to spin
but to untop a jug for to draw some ale in
when we have gotten it how soon you shall see
that when we have drunken it how merry we will be


come pick up your sackies your sackies good dame
for wi'walking and wi'talking we've gained a good name
for wi'walking and wi'talking we have gotten very dry
and the last of your neighbours did not us deny


our time it is precious and we cannot long stay
for we're a company designed for to taste of your ale
we want none of your small beer nor none of your pale
but the one that's in the kinker keg that's next to the wall


Soul Cakes

soul cakes are from Halloween of old. It has been tradition to make spiced breads with a cross on the top to celebrate the four phases of the year. Hot cross buns have the same origin but over time their representation and purpose has become Christianised. On Halloween children and the poor would knock from door to door "souling", singing for money, food and soul cakes. they would then leave a soul cake on their door step as an offering to the spirits with a lit candle. the children would then sing and hope all night that the spirits would be kind enough to leave them the soul cake as a treat in the morning.
Instead of giving out sweets this year, i baked over 200 of these soul cakes and left them out in a basket on my door step next to my carved pumpkin, Swede and aubergine. The spirits had not seen fit to leave me any though........success!


Souling Sucess

A big thank you to all who attended our souling day in colwell wood. it was fantastic fun. when we arrived we got ourselves each a piece of hessian we could tie around ourselves like a cape and threaded, leaves, sticks, wool and anything else we could find to help disguise us from the woodland spirits.
Once disguised we crept into the wood to see what we could find.........low and behold.....woodland spirits. Handmade with woven willow and lavender stems.
As we gathered them up we left soul cakes as an offering............
We even found death, one of our characters for our story of stingy jack and his jack o'lantern. all these characters sat with us to listen to this story and learn and sing souling songs as we ate soul cakes.
Thanks to jenny wellwood from soundart radio who recorded us as we sang.
Thanks to emma capper for soul cakes and hoopla's we played afterwards. Also thanks to craig whyte for our woodland games. Hoopla's, assault course and all the rest inspired by the children.
Karen also made some beautiful bread for our picnic and helped set up.
So once again thank you to everyone who came and got involved. i hope you've been inspired for next year!
Rachel Laila Rafiqi