On All Souls Day, November 2nd, in many Central European countries - Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, Spain, Italy, Hungary, and Slavic countries - Catholics will attend All Souls Day Mass, and then visit the graves of dear departed ones. Visiting the gravesites of deceased loved ones is considered a duty of such importance, that many people will travel great distances to their home towns to perform this obligation of love and piety.
It is also an ancient All Souls Day custom in Catholic sections of central Europe to ring the church bells at the approach of dusk on All Saints' Day, to remind the people to pray for the souls in Purgatory.
When the pealing of these bells is heard, the families gather in one room of their home, extinguish all other lights except a blessed candle (kept from Candlemas Day) which is put on the table.
Kneeling around it, they say the rosary for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
|Ancient All Souls Day Chasuble|
The boys and men lead the prayer by reciting the first part of the "Hail Mary" while the girls and women respond with the second part.
Along with these pious customs came the baking of special breads - "Soul Cakes" - in honor of the Holy Souls.
The Soul Cakes are handed out to children and the poor. The cakes are made of braided strands of sweet dough.
It was submitted by Lisa at Catholic Missionary Family, found at
and posted by Jessica on October 26, 2011 on the Catholic Cuisine Blog, at
A RECIPE FOR "SOUL CAKES" FOR ALL SAINTS DAY AND
ALL SOULS DAY
1 cup butter
3 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
6 tablespoons milk
powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top
1. Using a pastry blender cut 1 c. of butter into 3 3/4 cups of flour. I bought my first pastry blender just for this occasion.
2. Blend in the sugar, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Allspice smells like Christmas.
3. In a separate bowl beat eggs, vinegar and milk together. I would like to add a little shout out here to my amazing mother-in-law, who is always gifting me with amazing things for my kitchen, like these awesome Pyrex measuring cups, Thanks!
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.
5. Kneed thoroughly to form a stiff dough. You really have to work this dough, I thought there was no way it was moist enough, but once I mashed it all up it was just right.
6. Roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness and cut out 3 inch circles with a cookie cutter or glass.
7. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
8. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm. I use a slotted spoon for this.
9. Eat, yummy.