As the nights become darker and winter closes in there’s a natural inclination to gather round fires, share food and tell tales of the strange and spooky.
The oldest of winter festivals still celebrated today is Halloween the roots of which can be found in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain which marked the end of the harvest and the movement of livestock to winter pasture. The transition from light to dark evenings was believed to signify a thinning of the boundary between this world and the afterlife.
People would disguise themselves – probably in animal pelts – to protect them from evil spirits, food and drink was offered to pagan gods and a place at the table set for deceased relatives.
It’s easy to see the similarities with today’s Halloween celebration which is marked across the world between October 31 and November 2.
Though various Churches and states have gone to great lengths to try to break the link with the occult the allure persists.
In 1735 the Witchcraft Act actually made consuming pork in Scotland on October 31 a criminal offence because of the loose connection of pork bones in certain spells. Thankfully the law was repealed in 1950s so you can tuck into our delicious char sui pork buns or mini toad in the hole without fear of arrest.
In Mexico and other Latin American countries on November 1 and 2, El Día de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead provides a spectacular two-day celebration of ancestors and deceased family members.
Rather than the scary overtones of Halloween, it’s a celebration of life, both past, and present when the spirits of the dead are said to come back to visit their families.
The living celebrate them with flowers, festivals, sweets, and images of decorated skulls and skeletons whilst enjoying picnics and lighting candles in cemeteries.
Whilst European immigrants first introduced America to Halloween, trick or treating made the reverse journey across the Atlantic and it’s now commonplace for children in ghoulish fancy dress to go from house to house seeking a treat to protect the occupants from a trick.
At SK we have the perfect alternative to the chocolate and sweets usually offered as our worldwide range of snacks is ideal to warm the soul on a winters’ night. Whether its popping chicken, spring rolls, wontons, pakoras or samosas, we have you covered so look out for them in the chilled aisles of most UK supermarkets.