Preserving Catholic Traditions for Tomorrow's Faithful

 Home      Email Us     Site Map

Visit Our Storefront


Recipes and Celebrations for All Saints Day and All Souls Day

All Hallows’ Eve ~ All Saints’ Day – All Souls Day


October 31: All Hallows’ Eve

David McKay Company, Inc., New York, Copyright, 1951 by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger

A very ancient celebration is the Eve of All Saints or All Hallows’ Eve – Halloween. In pre-Christian eras it was a day when the Druids gathered within a ring of stone and chanted runes. The Romans celebrated it with an autumn feast to Pomona, goddess of orchards.

In the old calendar of the Catholic Church this is a fast day, but, especially in Ireland, many interesting dishes have been evolved to tide one over to the next day’s feast of All Saints. Fast days often seem to inspire cooks to concoct palatable foods of a vegetarian nature. Of these the counties all have their favorites, most of them based on the potato, that basic commodity from the Irish fields.

Boxty Bread

1 lb. raw potatoes                       salt
1 lb. cooked potatoes                 flour

Wash and peel the raw potatoes and grate them onto a piece of cheesecloth. Then squeeze them out, catching the liquid in a dish which must be allowed to stand so that the potato starch may settle. Mash the cooked potatoes over the raw, and season with salt. Pour off the potato liquid carefully;
then scrape up the potato starch at the bottom of the dish and add to the potato mixture. Work in enough flour to make a good dough and knead for a few minutes; then roll out, cut into cakes, and bake on a hot griddle.

Boxty Dumplings

Use the same ingredients and follow the same procedure as for Boxty Bread. When the dough has been kneaded, instead of rolling it out, form into small balls the size of an egg, drop them into boiling salted water and cook them for forty-five minutes. Serve with a sweet sauce.

The same counties feature on Halloween Potato Pudding and Colcannon.

In Scotland a special cake is made, and charms wrapped in paper are stirred in before it is baked. These are the usual ring, button, thimble, and coin, with the addition of a horseshoe for good luck,  and a wishbone for the heart’s desire. (Sounds dangerous!)

In England, as also in the United States, it is a night for feasting before an open fire, on cider and nuts and apples, and was formerly known as Nut Crack Night. Sitting before a bright hearth fire, they can feast on the appropriate foods of the night and of the season–cider and apples and nuts.


Love nuts? Click image to learn more




November 1: All Saints’ Day

David McKay Company, Inc., New York, Copyright, 1951 by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger

THIS DAY, formerly known in England as All Hallows and in France called “Toussaint,” honors, as its name implies, all the saints of the Catholic Church, canonized and uncanonized, known and unknown. Long ago the church bells rang for most of the night before All Saints’ Day to praise the saints “risen in their glory.” Everywhere patron and family saints are especially remembered. It is a feast to give them praise rather than to ask favors of them, a day for praising them to God rather than asking them to remember the living to Him.

The observance of this feast merges into the next, which is All Souls’ Day, so that by evening it has become the eve of the day of the dead. On All Souls’ Eve the graves in Hungary are lighted with candles and decorated with flowers. Indeed, the custom of visiting the cemeteries and adorning the
graves of relatives and friends with wreaths and bouquets prevails in most Latin and Central European countries.

In Czechoslovakia there is an old tradition of eating special cakes on All Souls’ Eve, and of drinking cold milk “to cool the souls in Purgatory.” In Belgium also a particular variety of cakes is baked, and it is an old superstition that “the more one eats of them the more souls will be saved from Purgatory.”

In many old English towns, maids still go “souling” on All Souls’ Eve, that is, singing for cakes, and one hears such ancient ballads as:

               Soul! soul! for a soul-cake!
               I pray, good misses a soul-cake–
               An apple or pear, a plum or a cherry,
               Any good thing to make us merry,
               One for Peter, two for Paul,
               Three for Him who made us all.

Soul Cakes

1 yeast cake                       2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar                      6 cups flour
1/4 cup lukewarm water      1 teaspoon salt
1/4 lb. butter                        3 teaspoons cinnamon

Dissolve the yeast cake with 1 teaspoon of sugar in the lukewarm water and let All Saints Day Recipesit stand in a warm place. Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the milk which has been scalded and slightly cooled and then add the yeast. Sift the flour with the salt and cinnamon and add to the mixture, kneading
for a few minutes. Place in a bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place to double its bulk. Shape the dough into round buns and bake at 375 degrees F. for about thirty minutes or until lightly browned. Originally, these cakes were shaped like men and women and were given raisins or currants for eyes.


November 2: All Souls’ Day

After the feast in honor of the Saints in heaven, comes the day of praying for the dead, particularly for members of the family, so “that they may quickly attain to the fellowship of the heavenly citizens.”

In Italy, and especially in Sicily, good children who have prayed for the dead through the year are rewarded by having the “morti” leave gifts, sometimes cakes, none the less welcome because they have been made by the hands of mundane bakers. Especially good are these “Fave dei Morti,” and as
fine a reward for a pious child as was the “Pretiolium” or pretzel of the Middle Ages.

Fave dei Morti (Beans of the Dead)All Saints Day Recipes

1/4 lb. almonds               butter, size of a walnut
1/4 lb. sugar                   1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour         1 egg
1/2 lemon peel, grated

Pound some of the almonds (unblanched) with some of the sugar in a mortar, and then rub through a sieve. Continue this process until all of the almonds and sugar have been used. Any of the mixture remaining in the sieve should be pounded again until it is fine enough to pass through the sieve. Work this paste with the flour, butter, cinnamon, egg, and lemon peel until the whole is quite smooth. When
done, roll into long thin rolls; divide into small pieces and shape them to resemble a broad bean. Bake on a greased tin at 350 degrees F. for about twenty minutes or until light brown. Though soft at first they will harden when cold.


On the Day of the Dead, Mexican crowds stream into the cemeteries long before daybreak, bearing flowers, candles, and food. Breads, candies, and cakes have been made in the form of grinning skulls with eyes of shining purple paper, of little chocolate hearses and coffins and funeral wreaths.
With picnic gaiety the families group about the graves in the cemeteries, everyone laughing and enjoying the fine fiesta and sharing the food they have brought. And as in Spain, in the evening the whole village repairs to see the perennial drama of the faithless Don Juan and his luckless

Pan de Muertos (Bread of the Dead)

1 yeast cake                          2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lukewarm water         6 eggs
5 cups flour                            1/3 cup orange blossom water

1 teaspoon salt                       1/3 cup milk
1 cup butter                            1/4 cup anisette
Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and let it stand in a warm place. Sift the flour with the salt. Taking about half the flour, add the yeast, mix well, and allow to rise in a greased bowl in a warm place until double in bulk. Cream the butter with the sugar; add the egg yolks and the orange blossom water. Then add the remaining flour, the milk and anisette. Mix well and knead for a few minutes. Then add the egg whites, one at a time, kneading after each addition. Finally add the fermented dough and beat and knead until thoroughly mixed. Allow it to rise in a greased bowl in a warm place until double in bulk. Knead once more and divide into two portions. Remove a bit of the dough from each
portion, enough to form two “bones.” Shape the dough into round loaves and moisten the tops with water. Place the “bones” in the shape of a cross on each loaf and bake at 375 degrees F. for about fifty minutes or until done. The loaves are usually covered with a light sugar glaze when baked.





« Resources for All Saints Day Reports – All Saints Day Party from the Daughters of Saint Paul


If you’ve enjoyed our site, please consider making a donation! 

All Saints Day Recipes