Pagan Hallowe’en Celebration: Pennsylvania Dutch Style

The Pennsylvania Dutch are descendants of the German and Swiss people from the Palatine region of Europe who immigrated during the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. Some brought the old religion with them. Hallowe’en was covertly observed by the Pagans, who joined the Lutheran and Catholic churches and Christianized our magick to avoid persecution. Today, we can celebrate Hallowe’en without fear. The Dutch are famous for hex signs, our humor and our food, which is a mix of German and AmerIndian cuisine. Celebrate Hallowe’en our style and feast on food made from Dutch recipes.

Pennsylvania Dutch Objections to Some Modern Hallowe’en Traditions

Some of the Dutch are offended by modern October 31st ways of marking the date. Pennsy Dutch grandfather, Daddy Mick Fley told me that there used to be a mischief night in Northampton County, Pennsylvania during the earlier part of the 1900s when kids and, most likely, some adults played destructive pranks on the night before the holiday.

Later, this was incorporated into Hallowe’en activities. School activities include cutting out paper witches who are usually depicted as ugly evil looking crones. Gory horror movies and haunted rides, tours and houses designed to scare are abhorred. These have nothing to do with the holiday. Unfortunately, some children are still taught that witches are bad.

Pennsylvania Dutch Hallowe’en Celebration

Costumes are optional. Autumn flowers, potted or silk, mini pumpkins, Indian corn, gourds and nuts adorn the altar. The cloth is orange; candles black, the colors of the day. Orange is for strength, vitality and protection. Black absorbs and banishes evil. Light a fire in the fireplace, turn on flames in an electric faux fireplace. This, along with the candles’ flames, honors those who are departed. Apple cider, with cinnamon sticks is in a cauldron or pot for all to enjoy during the celebration. Dry ice has been added to make the mixture steam and bubble. Bob for apples which signifies the soul’s passage to the otherworld over waters separating it from the mundane world. While savoring the bobbed apples, give thanks for abundance. Write what is to be banished on paper and throw it into the fire or burn in a candle’s flame. Perform the desired spellwork.

Enjoy a Pennsylvania Dutch Hallowe’en Feast

Fare features traditional food, including meat, corn, beans, turnips, squash, root vegetables, nuts, cinnamon and apples. Breads, pickles, store bought pumpkin pie or cookies, cider, wine and ale complete the feast. Recipes are based on my Pennsy Dutch Grandmother Nana Fley’s ones.

  • Deviled Nuts: Melt 1/4 cup margarine in large pan. Blend in 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and hot pepper sauce to taste. Add 1 pound mixed nuts. Stir to blend. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until nuts are browned. Drain on paper towels. Cool and store in airtight container.
  • Pennsy Dutch Red Clam Chowder: Drain and reserve juice from 2 (6 1/2 ounce) cans diced clams. Sauté together 2 slices diced bacon, 1/2 diced bell pepper, 2 tablespoons parsley and 1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme until bacon is golden. Drain. Put 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can Manhattan clam, 1/2 can water, reserved clam juice, 1 1/4 pints bottled clam juice, 2 diced tomatoes, 2 stalks sliced celery, 1 large sliced carrot, 1 cup each diced turnips, diced potatoes and corn into pot. Bring to boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are done, adding water if needed. Add clams and heat through.
  • Pennsy Dutch White Clam Chowder: Sauté together 2 slices diced bacon, 1 small diced onion and 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme until onions are glossy. Drain. Put 2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans chunky potato soup and juice from 2 (6 1/2 ounce) cans diced clams into pot. Don’t boil. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, adding milk id necessary. Add clams and heat through.
  • Roast Pork Loin: Mix together 1/2 cup each teriyaki sauce and Liebfraumilch wine, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and 2 cloves minced garlic. Marinate 3 pounds pork loin in mixture and chill overnight, stirring occasionally. Roast pork at 325 degrees for about 2 1/2 hours or until done, basting occasionally. Meat is done when juices run clear when pricked with fork.
  • Succotash: Run cold water over 1 (16 ounce) package each frozen corn and baby lima beans until they’re separated. Mix with 1/4 cup diced pimento and 3 sprigs chopped parsley. Melt 1 tablespoon margarine and add vegetables. Cover and simmer over very low heat for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are done.
  • Sautéed Carrot Medley: Mix together 2 zucchinis and 2 carrots cut into matchstick pieces, 1/2 pound green beans cut into thin diagonal slices and 1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives. Sauté in 2 tablespoons olive oil until vegetables are crisp.
  • Stewed Apples and Rhubarb: Combine 1/2 cup water, 1 cup sugar, I teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a pot. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture boils. Reduce heat and add 2 cups each sliced Granny Smith apples and rhubarb. Simmer until tender. Remove from heat and refrigerate overnight.

Pennsylvania Dutch Hallowe’en Celebration Afterglow

The wonderful good feast has been savored. The wonderful bad, as the Dutch would say, has been banished. Reminisce about Hallowe’ens past. Share memories of departed loved ones, including animals. Talk about Hallowe’en traditions in different countries. Make plans for Yule, the next Sabbat marking the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year. Merry meet Hallowe’en celebration ends too soon, but Yule is only about two months away.

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