Food and rituals for the dead go hand in hand. In all cultures and religions, food is offered to please the dead. In Mexico, Dia de los muertos is celebrated, where private altars are built and food is served for the departed. In ancient Egypt, the dead were buried with food to feed them on their journey to the other world. In nether lands does koeks were consumed by the mourners in a funeral. In India, in Hindu religion, people offer food to the pithrus (the dead). Let us know about history of Halloween candy in this article.
The soul cakes
In the ninth century Celt world (Ireland, England and Scotland), the church priests were active in replacing the ancient Celt religion with Christianity. Some of the methods that they followed included adopting the Celt traditions and Christianizing it. Owing to this, the Celt festival of Samhain was replace with the 'all saints day' - the day devoted to all the saints in Christianity. In Celt religion, people kept food outside their house to please evil spirits and to prevent them from entering their house.
This tradition of keeping food outside was replaced with 'soul cakes'. The priests encouraged the people to make soul cakes and give them to the poor. Thus began 'souling'. The poor would go door to door begging for the 'soul cake' in return for prayers for the dead (trick or treat). These traditions were brought to America post war along with the Irish and English immigrants.
Slowly 'souling' became trick or treating and 'soul cakes' became sweet candies.
The Halloween candy
Initially it was the poor children who dressed up in rags and begged saying 'something for thanks giving'. But then it became a tradition and there were masquerades and Halloween parties. Soon the cakes were replaced by candy. And by the start of 1900's candies were mass produced specifically for Halloween. Candy is now an inseparable Halloween tradition. Costumes, trick or treat and candy have became an inherent Halloween tradition.
After World War II, candy companies started to promote specific candies for Halloween. Owing to the fall season, candy corns, popcorn balls and candied apples were promoted as the Halloween treats. These were initially seasonal treats that later became Halloween treats.
Halloween Candy Today
Halloween candy has taken a new meaning today. Our favorite Halloween candies were actually promoted to sell by the manufacturers. They had promoted seasonal treats to encourage people to buy candy and celebrate Halloween. Because Halloween is celebrated in the beginning of the harvest season, it was an easy target to promote their products.
But again, what a sweet promotion!! We enjoy candy and they have become a Halloween tradition. So let us not bother ourselves with this. Happy Halloween!