An ancient tradition, but surely one that the Victorians didn’t celebrate? Wrong, they did celebrate. Oh boy was it a big dangerous, flaming drunken party of a holiday. Join me to explore a Victorian Halloween.

This episode covers

Intro & reviews.

The birth of Halloween.

The ancient rites.

Religion & superstition.

The loss of the old ways.

Queen Victoria’s Halloween’s.

Parties, games, drinks and danger – a typical Victorian Halloween.

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This is a very simple one. Try making a basic vanilla sponge or lemon cake, then gather your unmarried daughters and nieces. Remind them that the family requires them to marry a knight, a major, or at least a vicar with a good income and help them find true love (or at least an income of £400 a year and a maid) with this fortune telling cake.

Make according to any good recipe for a plain cake; not a word must be spoken after the work begins; three or four girls beating eggs, measuring, sifting, etc., in perfect silence.  When it is poured into the pan, some married lady takes it, and, unobserved, hides in it a ring, a coin, and a button.  It is iced thinly and placed in the oven again, after baking, for the icing to brown.  When served it is cut into as many pieces as there are guests (unmarried of course).  Every branch of the work — secreting the tokens, icing and cutting, must be done in perfect silence.  Every slice must be eaten or crumbed in silence until the tokens are found and displayed, when the spell is broken.  The finder of the ring will be married first; the coin betokens wealth, while a life of single-blessedness falls to the finder of the button.”