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Halloween

By Staff
Colonial Mall plans events
Colonial Mall-Decatur is continuing its Halloween tradition of providing a fun, safe place for children to trick-or-treat Oct. 31. Children are invited to bring their bags to the mall and trick-or-treat starting at 5:30 p.m.
The annual costume contest, sponsored by Big River Broadcasting, will be held at 6:30 p.m. on stage in the front of Dillard's main store, near the carousel.
Children ages 12 and under who are interested in entering the contest should register at the stage between 5:45-6:15 p.m. Trophies provided by Big River Broadcasting will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners in the following age categories: 4 years and under; 5-8 years; and 9-12 years.
MochaTeen Coffeehouse will be open Halloween night and will hold a costume contest open to teens 13-18.
The Decatur Kennel Club will bring their dogs in costume and set up a booth at the fountain to provide information and answer questions about pet care care and training. The Kennel Club pet costume contest (for Kennel Club pets only) will follow the children's contest on stage in front of Dillards.
Halloween has a haunted history
Halloween is today and dozens of children of all ages will be out going from house to house with a bag in hand shouting "trick or treat."
The holiday we know as Halloween has had many influences from many cultures over the centuries. From the Roman's Pomona Day, to the Celtic festival of Samhain, to the Christian holidays of All Saints and All Souls Days.
Hundreds of years ago in what is now Great Britain and Northern France, lived the Celts. The Celts worshiped nature and had many gods, with the sun god as their favorite. It was "he" who commanded their work and their rest times, and who made the earth beautiful and the crops grow.
The Celts celebrated their New Year on Nov. 1. It was celebrated every year with a festival and marked the end of the "season of the sun" and the beginning of "the season of darkness and cold."
On Oct. 31, after the crops were all harvested and stored for the long winter, the cooking fires in the homes would be extinguished.
The Druids, the Celtic priests, would meet in the hilltop in the dark oak forest (oak trees were considered sacred). The Druids would light new fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals.
As they danced around the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness would begin.
When the morning arrived, the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take them home to start new cooking fires.
These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits.
The Nov. 1 festival was called Samhain (pronounced "sowen"). The festival would last for three days. Many people would parade in costumes made from the skins and heads of their animals. The festival would become the first Halloween.
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