Singing for Soul Cake
Christianity retained the costuming tradition. Revelers dressed as saints paraded about on All Saints Day. The parades turned into mummers plays and tableau on October 31, with costumed angels, demons, and saints battling it out for the souls of humanity. Over time, they moved into the streets in a practice called “souling.” Costumed people would go door to door, offering to say an extra prayer on behalf of the household. In exchange, they would receive “soul cake,” a honey oat cake marked with a cross. Each cake ‘bought’ a prayer for a soul lingering in purgatory. But Reformation in the 16th century split worshipers into those who believed in purgatory, and those who believed a soul could only earn its way into heaven by the deeds they did in their lifetime. Costumed ‘souling’ became more of a fun way to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve than tied to religious practices.