Wednesday, September 3, 2014


  As one of the world's oldest holidays, Halloween is still celebrated today in many countries around our blue planet.  It is in  North America that it has most of the popularity.  Every year, 65 percent of Americans decorated their home and offices for Halloween. The only other holiday to exceed it is Christmas.  Halloween is the holiday when the most mount of candy is sold and is second only to Christmas again.  So lets start our country countdown and see what they do for Halloween.

  1. Austria- some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before going to bed on Halloween night.  They do this because it was once believed such things would welcome the dead souls back to earth, on a night which is believed by the Austrian people, to be brimming with strong cosmic energies.
  2. Belgium- they believe that it is unlucky for a black cat to cross your path and also unlucky if it should enter a home or travel on a ship.  The custom on Halloween night is to light candles in memory of dead relatives.
  3. Canada-Halloween celebrations in Canada began with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants in the 1800's.  Pumpkins are carved and the festivities include parties, trick-or-treating and the decorating of homes, just like we do here.
  4. China-Halloween is know as "Teng Chieh".  Food and water are placed in front of photographs of family members who have passed away, lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Halloween night.  Worshippers in Buddhist temples fashion boats from paper in many different sizes, they are then burned in the evening.  The purpose of this custom is as a remembrance of the dead and in order to free the spirits in order that they might ascend to heaven.  They call these spirits "pretas", they are the ones who died as a result of an accident or drowning and whose bodies were never buried.  The presence of "pretas" among the living is thought to be dangerous.  Different societies are formed to carry out ceremonies for the "pretas", which includes the lighting of lanterns.  Monks are invited to recited sacred verses and offerings of fruit are presented.
  5. Czechoslovakia-chairs are placed by the fireplace on Halloween night.  There is one chair for each living family member and one for each family member's spirit.
  6. England- in the early years children made "punkies" out of large beetroots, upon which they carved a design of them.  Then, they would carry their "punkies" through the streets while sing the "Punkie Night Song" as they knocked on doors and asked for money.  In rural areas, turnip lanterns  were placed on gateposts to protect homes from the spirits who roamed on Halloween.  Another custom was to toss objects such as stones, vegetable and nuts into a bonfire to frighten away spirits.  These sacrifices were employed as fortune telling tools.  If a pebble thrown into the fire at night was no longer visible in the morning, then it was believed that the person who tossed the pebble would not survive another year.  If nuts tossed into the fire by young lovers then exploded, it signified a rough marriage.  The English ceased celebrating Halloween with the spread of Protestant Reformation.  Since followers of the new religion did not believe in Saints, they saw no reason to celebrate the Eve of All Saints' Day.  However, in recent years, American "trick or treating", together with the donning of costumes for going door-to-door, has become a popular pastime among English children.  Many adults of older generations have little ideas as to why they are being asked for candy and are usually not prepared to accommodated their small callers.
  7. France-Halloween is not celebrated by the French, in order to honor the dead and departed ancestors.  It is regarded as an "American" holiday.  It was virtually unknown in the country until around 1996.
  8. Germany-the people put away their knives on Halloween night.  The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm befalling the returning spirits.
  9. Hong Kong-Halloween is know as "Yue Lan" (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts). It is believed that spirits roam the world for 24 hours.  Some burn pictures of fruit or money, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts.
  10. Ireland-believed to be the birthplace of Halloween, it is still celebrated as it is in the U.S.  In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts and children dress up in costumes to spend the night "trick or treating".  After the visiting , people attend parties with neighbors and friends.  Many games are played, including "snap-apple," in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree, and players attempt to take a bite out of it.  Parents often arrange treasure hunts with sweets or pastries as the treasure.  They also play a card game where cards are laid face-down with sweets or coins beneath them.  When a child selects a card, he or she receives whatever the prize might be.  A traditional food is eaten called "barnbrack."  A type of fruitcake with a muslin-wrapped treat baked inside, so it is said, can foretell the future of the one who finds it.  If the prize is a ring, then that person will soon be wed and a piece of straw means a prosperous year.  Children are also known to play tricks upon their neighbors.  One of which is know as "knock-a-dolly," where they knock on the doors of their neighbors but run away before the door is opened.


This recipe was found at www.culinarycory.com .   A little something to start off the fall season.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

Baked Pumpkin Cake Donuts

I can’t help it. There are days when I’m just drawn to it. Those four big letters glistening in the yellow glow and sparkle of retail extravaganza. I don’t care if I have to wade through the text messaging hoards of 12 year olds just to find it. I see it there, hidden in the back corner of the store covered with red tags and crossed out retail pricing. Oh, glorious SALE.
While partaking in some retail therapy, I couldn’t resist exploring a kitchen store for yet another gadget to purchase. I thumbed through shelves of “miracle devices” guaranteed to perfectly cook anything in the microwave. I even glanced through the mountains of magic spices Paula Deen decided to slap her face on this week. Finally, I came across a set of mini donut pans for a cool 5 bucks in the clearance section. A crisp Lincoln was tossed at the cashier as I headed home to create these flavorful pumpkin donuts.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
2 Tbl. milk
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside. Cream together the brown sugar, canned pumpkin, eggs, milk, butter and vanilla extract until the butter is well incorporated. With your mixer on medium low speed, slowly add the dry sifted ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until just barely combined. Be careful of over mixing.
Spray the donut pan with cooking spray and fill each donut mold halfway with the pumpkin batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 6 – 8 minutes or until the exterior springs back when touched. Allow to cool completely and top each donut with cinnamon glaze.

Cinnamon Glaze

½ cup powdered sugar
1 Tbl. milk
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Mix until smooth and creamy. The glaze should pour easily from a spoon. You may need to add additional milk or powder sugar to get the right consistency.
Authors Note:
  There is no need to fret if you do not own donut pans. This recipe can be easy converted into pumpkin muffins. You may need to adjust the baking time accordingly. When using paper liners, lightly spray the liners with cooking spray just before filling them with batter. It makes a world of difference.


   Dover’s Hill, above Chipping Campden and overlooking the Vale of Evesham, is a beautiful plateau commanding extensive views from the plains of the Avon and the Severn to the foothills of the Welsh mountains. Owned by the National Trust, it provides an ideal setting for open air games.
    Each year, on the traditional date of Friday after Spring Bank Holiday (the date for the Games this year will be held on Friday 3rd June 2011 on Dover's Hill starting at 7.30pm), the hill echoes with the shouts and cheers of competitors and spectators as Robert Dover’s Cotswold ‘Olimpick’ Games (not Olympic Games) are celebrated. Bands march, cannon fire, rustic activities and wrestling take place, and the evening is brought to a close with fireworks and a torchlight procession into Campden followed by dancing in the square.

World Championship Shin Kicking ... open to all comers.

400 Years of Olimpick Passion

Shin Kicking - Olimpick-style
    An Olympic Games held in London in 2012 will mark a unique anniversary - it will be exactly 400 years from the moment that the first stirrings of Britain's Olympic beginnings can be identified'. This statement was made by no other than the British Olympic Association in their successful bid for the games.

    They continued, 'In 1612 in the tiny village (we forgive them that) of Chipping Campden, Robert Dover opened the first 'Cotswold Olimpicks', an annual sporting fair that honoured the ancient Games of Greece. Those early 'Olimpick' competitors were as remote as you could imagine from the Olympic stars of today, and the 'sports' included singlestick, wrestling, jumping in sacks, dancing and even shin-kicking. But whatever the eccentric nature of the event, this was the pre-dawn of the Olympic Movement, and the Cotswold Games began the historical thread in Britain that was ultimately to lead to the creation of the modern Olympics.

Origins of Robert Dover's Games
    The James have a long history, possibly going back to the time when the hill was the site of the Kiftsgate Hundred Court.
    Their present form takes much from the records of the Games in the early seventeenth century. Prominent is the picture of the Games published in 1636 with a collection of poems entitled Annalia Dubrensia in praise of the Games by reputable poets of the period.

    The title page describes this as 'Olimpick'. The picture depicts Robert Dover presiding over his Games. On the summit of the hill a castle structure has guns firing to start events, and there are representations of the different activities - dancing, backswords, coursing, throwing the sledge hammer, spurning the barre, pike drill, tumbling and even shin-kicking.
    The poems by Michael Drayton, Ben Jonson, Thomas Randolph, and others describe the excitement of the contest, the good-humoured rivalry, and, above all, the sense of good honest sportmanship which Robert Dover engendered.

Robert Dover
    Robert Dover (1582-1652) came from Great Ellingham in Norfolk. After being educated at Cambridge and Gray's Inn, he came to Saintbury in 1611 and soon gave vitality to the Games which still bear his name.
The Games probably date from 1612. According to the historian Wood he was given permission from James I to hold them. In the 1636 portrayal he is shown wearing the clothes of James I. There is a general impression of a warm-hearted friendly man who believed in harmless activities.

Shin Kicking World Championship
    Shin-kicking has once again become a regular feature of Robert Dover's Olimpick Games, much to the delight of the spectators. Contestants hold each other by the shoulder and try to kick shins and bring opponents to the ground. A Stickler, the ancient name for our judge, makes sure that shins are hit before a fall can count. Our kickers wear the traditional white smocks associated with shepherds. They are allowed to protect their shins with straw.
    The Champion is the winner of the best of three challenges in the final bout, having kicked his way successfully through the early rounds.

    The sport dates back to the original Games. The 1636 picture shows shinkicking taking place, probably as the underplay of Cotswold Wrestling. The activity continued through to the 18th century.
    The poet William Somervile provided a lively account of Hobbinol of the Vale and Pastorel of the Wolds in 1740. In the early 19th century the activity was more brutal, with villages challenging each other, contestants hardening shins with coal hammers and wearing boots tipped with iron. Many a leg was broken! We still have pictures of Joe Chamberlain and Ben Hopkins shin-kicking to make the 1951 Festival Games memorable.

Some of The Other Events and Entertainment
    Expect to be welcomed to Dover's Hill by the sound of an old time Fairground Organ.
    The Campden Morrismen, one of the oldest groups in the country, will provide you with some lively dancing, in contrast to the stirring sound of the Coventry Corps of Drums and the lilt of the pipes from the St Andrew's Pipe Band of Cheltenham. Elsewhere on the upper slope you will find a Punch and Judy presentation, and may be able to gurn through a horse-collar.
    Providing an exhibition of backsword fighting which was a feature of the Games for three centuries will be some doughtly Londoners.
Not to be missed is the rousing conclusion to the Games, the lighting of the bonfire by the Scuttlebrook Queen, the fireworks that light the night sky, and then the sight of thousands of people in the torchlight procession wending their way from the hill down to the Square in Chipping Campden.

Stuffing socks before the shin kicking

The Scuttlebrook Wake
    The festivities in Campden do not end with the Friday night. There are Scuttlebrook children's races in the High Street early on the Friday evening. But the Scuttlebrook Wake, so named after the Cattlebrook or Scuttlebrook which used to flow through Leasbourne until it was covered over in 1831, is celebrated mainly on the Saturday afternoon with a procession of the Scuttlebrook Queen and the crowning of the new queen in the Square.

    There is a colourful display of imaginative fancy dress and decorated floats, children dance round the maypole. And after all this the Street Fair is declared open.