“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire. It is the time for home.”
Winter, as beautifully quoted by Edith Sitwell, is the time for warmth and loads of good food which is associated with the many festivals that follow. Beginning the season with Halloween trick or treat and soon after brightening the night of November 5 on Bonfire Night – two events to make you feel all warm inside, no matter how cold the nights get!
Every year, 31st October is celebrated as Halloween, in ancient times the beginning of the spiritual year, but also part of the Christian calendar known as All Hallows Eve. Many believe that spirits visit Earth on this night, make their presence known to the living and visit their old homes. Pleasing the spirits with fruits and nuts and avoiding any harm to the living is all part of the festival. Carve out pumpkins, themes of orange and black, skeletons and other spooky costumes – all help to narrate the excitement and celebration of Halloween.
In the UK we have our unique tradition of Bonfire Night. Bonfire Night is associated with the celebration of the failure of Guy Fawkes’ actions on the 5th of November 1605 to blow up the Houses of Parliament, and so an effigy of Guy Fawkes is burned on the bonfire to this day as a stark reminder of your fate should you choose to commit treason! The dark winter skies make a dramatic backdrop for wonderful fireworks displays all around the country and a perfect excuse to meet up with friends and family and enjoy some hearty food.
You might be grabbing a bite to eat outdoors – nothing beats holding a cup of hot chocolate or a steaming mug of soup when you are outside – your hands keep warm and you get a delicious tasty drink to sip and heat up your insides, and you’re bound to sample everyone’s favourite at winter events, burgers and hotdogs!
Or, if you’re planning to be out most of the evening you don’t really want to be worrying about cooking up a complicated meal when you get back in. Why not try some award-winning Harpers sausages and creamy homemade mash, or make up some bolognese sauce beforehand and all you have to do is boil up some spaghetti when you get back in and supper will be on the table in 15 minutes! It goes without saying that if you’ve carved your own pumpkins then you simply must make a delicious spicy pumpkin soup; serve with crusty bread and a swirl of cream and your pumpkin will be finished off, no matter how big it was to start!
Wrap up warm, pull on your boots and get outside to enjoy these two fun-filled annual events, and don’t let the weather stop you!