Friday, November 3, 2017

Halloween vs. Dia De los Muertos

We participated in both Halloween on 10/31 and the first night of Dia de los Muertos on 11/01 her in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I am troubled by what I experienced.

Halloween here is very much like in the states. Kids say Trick or Treat when they ask for candy, except here there is no door to door "begging." Here the children come to the Jardin with their moms and dads, and the gringos, there could be Mexicans too, but I didn't observe any, hand out candy. Bev and I brought 20 to 30 pounds of candy each to the square in big bags. We were mobbed like pigeons after grain thrown on the ground. They were all polite and said Trick or Treat and gracias!

It is a treat to see all the little children dressed in costumes and painted faces.

Gringos seem to think they should dress in scary costumes. The children who don;t have bags or buckets to hold their candy hold outstretched hands in a begging posture. What have we taught the young children? Gringos provide lots of candy, they can be scary and begging Gringos works.

Dias de los Muertos is not about candy and being scared. It is a way to remember the dead children on night one and adults on night two. It is a time to visit a grave of a family member, sit down and drink and have a picnic and dwell on the life and relationships of the departed members of the family. There is a reverence in the culture for those who have gone on.

In the revolution when the streets were littered with the dead, it is believed that warriors came back as hummingbirds or butterflies, not ghosts.

We painted our faces and sat in the Jardin watching the people in all their costumes.
Earlier we stopped at Casa Chiquita for a wonderful pizza. A Mexican man came up to our table, and in a heartfelt way, expressed his pleasure in seeing the six of us observing Dia de los Muertos and respecting his culture.

I hope gringos will stress more the meaning of Dia de los Muertos and downplay the Halloween version.