A Martinez church has found a way to enjoy the fun of Halloween while celebrating its religious significance.
The Church of Our Savior is inviting the public to attend its annual Prayer Service on the Labyrinth and Holy Ghost Wienie Roast.
"It's always been a religious holiday for us," said the Rev. Lou Scales, the church's pastor.
Halloween developed from an ancient pagan festival celebrated by Celtic people more than 2,000 years ago in the areas now known as Ireland, the United Kingdom and northwestern France, according to the World Book Encyclopedia. The festival marked summer's end and the beginning of the dark winter season.
In the 800s, the Christian church established All Saints Day, celebrated on Nov. 1. All Saints Day was also called All Hallows'. The day before, Oct. 31, was known as All Hallows' Eve and evolved to Halloween.
"For us, this is the celebration of All Saints Day or All Hallows' Eve," Scales said. "The following day there is the feast of All Saints. This is the time that we remember all those that have gone before us in the faith and who still pray for us in Heaven."
Scales said the prayer service and cookout is a fun way to celebrate a holiday that is not traditionally seen as a religious one. The scary costumes associated with Halloween were originally worn to scare off evil spirits, who the Celts believed could mingle with the living world on Halloween night.
The prayer service, which begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, will be held in a courtyard behind the church at 4227 Columbia Road in Martinez. The service will include prayers and scripture readings in preparation for the holy day to follow.
"Then we'll go right inside the parish hall and grill hotdogs and probably S'mores and things like that," Scales said. "So the kids can do the trick-or-treat sort of thing, come in costume and have a good time."
Scales said he expects the Holy Ghost Wienie Roast, with food prepared on the Holy Grill, to begin about 7:45 p.m.
"We're having fun with that," Scales said, referring to the Halloween names.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the church at (706) 863-1718.
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