Oct 13, 2010

Samhain Lore and Recipes for Halloween!

Halloween Lore
Below are some excellent recipes for Samhain, the Celtic festival to honor those who died in the past year (and friends, family, or acquaintances who've died at any point in your lifetime). It is celebrated from October 31st to November 1st. The word Samhain is pronounced 'sow-en' and literally means 'summer's end.' It is held sacred by pagans and witches as the Witches' New Year, since it marks the ending and beginning of the Wheel of the Year, always constantly turning. It is common for witches to hold rituals at this time to honor or commune with the dead. The festival Samhain actually directly influenced the celebration of Halloween as it is known today (but that's a VERY long story, so I won't get into it here!)

The night of October 31st (Halloween) is a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and dead is at its thinnest; therefore, this is truly an excellent night for divination. Parlor games involving apples are another popular pastime at Halloween, due to its associations with love divination. The apple has always been a symbol of sex, fertility and romance. Back in the day, people who underwent Handfasting (a pagan wedding) would sometimes exchange an apple as a symbol of their bound and love for one another.

El dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is traditionally celebrated in Mexico on November 2nd. The Day of the Dead is a time of remembrance, prayer and celebration to honor the deceased. Mourning is frowned upon - Mexicans believe one should celebrate death through life, rather than fearing or feeling saddened by it. Home altars to the dead are decorated with photographs, skeleton figurines, candles, foods, and much more. Many of the items are things the deceased person loved or cherished in his/her lifetime. Feasting, listening to music, singing, and dancing (all things associated with a fiesta) are all permitted activities during the holiday. Visits to grave sites often last all night long, and many families even sleep in the cemetery with their loved ones until morning.

Let me mention that Samhain is not a diabolical rite, a Black Mass, or a dance with the Devil. We do not worship the devil, make pacts with him, brew poisonous potions to taint the water supply, or feast on the flesh of human babies. Nor do witches sacrifice animals, unless they have no idea what they're doing. Witches who do any of these activities I have just mentioned will only get themselves into a slew of trouble, so please don't! My point is to clear up a few of the misconceptions people have about pagans/witches. And believe me there are a lot of them! We'd be here all night if I tried listing them all.

The Recipes:
Recipe from: A Witch's Halloween by Gerina Dunwich

5 lbs potatoes
1 head cabbage
1 onion
1 1/3 cups milk

1 stick butter
2 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper

1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Remove the eyes, sprouts; cut into quarters. Put potatoes in a large pot of salted, boiling water.

2. Wash and chop the head of cabbage and the onion. Put them into the pot with potatoes. Cook and cover, 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

3. Drain all this in a strainer and return to pot. Stir in milk, butter, salt and pepper. Mush together until blended.

Serves 6.
Chocolate de los Mexicanos
(Mexican Hot Cocoa)
A traditional treat for El Dia de los Muertos celebrated on November 2nd.

Recipe from: Sabbats by Edain McCoy

4 ¼ cups milk
4 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
5 tbs sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
⅛ teaspoon allspice
1 shot tequila
Cinnamon sticks
Whipped cream

Serves 4

Melt chocolate over low heat. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. With a mixer or wooden spoon, beat mixture until it stops boiling and becomes frothy. Stir in tequila. Serve immediately in mugs garnished with a cinnamon stick. Dust whipped cream with cinnamon.

Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup canned, mashed pumpkin
2 tablespoons milk

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside. Cream together shortening and sugar in mixing bowl until light and fluffy, using electric mixer at medium speed. Beat in egg. Combine pumpkin and milk in small bowl. Add dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin mixture to creamed mixture, stirring well after each addition.

Spoon batter into paper-lined 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups, filling 2/3rds full. Bake in 350 degree F. oven 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot with butter and homemade jam.

Baked Harmony Apples

Recipe from: Halloween by Silver RavenWolf

8 Macintosh apples
1 cup brown sugar
10 tbs chopped raisins
1 stick butter
2 cups water
2 cups dry white wine
Ground cinnamon
Ground nutmeg
Vanilla ice cream OR
Whipped cream

Wash apples. Core apples at one end only. Mix together sugar, raisins and butter. Place apples in a baking dish, cored end facing up. Fill with brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle apples with spices.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a separate bowl, combine water with wine. Pour around apples. Bake for 45 mins, basting occasionally. Top apples with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Serves 8.

Pan de Muertos (Bread of the Dead)
(Another treat for El Dia de los Muertos, used as an ofrenda [offering] to the dead.)

Makes 1 large loaf.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup graulated sugar

1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1. Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add them warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees

2. In a large bowl combine 1 cup of flour, yeast, salt and 1/4 cup of sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture, then add the eggs and orange zest, beating until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour, and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

4. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.

5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, then brush with glaze.

6. To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with sugar.

Samhain Oil

This oil recipe is for a very large amount of oil. If you wish, cut down the proportions of the ingredients to suit your needs. **Warning: Not for consumption. Do not ingest under any circumstances!**

1/2 dram Pine Oil
1/4 dram Frankincense oil
1/4 dram Patchouli oil
1/4 dram Lavender oil

Mix well and bottle. A good high altar oil for your rituals and anointing candles.

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