If you clicked through the headline then you are here for one of three reasons:
- RAGE because these events should NOT be combined
- ASSURANCE because you think these events are combined
- CURIOSITY because you are not sure if these events are combined
The headline is simply clickbait. I firmly think that people combine these events because they have no idea what either really is. How many people in the United States celebrate Halloween and truly have no reason why? It is the same reason so many people think the Tooth Fairy is a thing when it is not. We simply do not know but are longing for some sort of tradition in the fashion we best know how to celebrate, capitalism. Celebration via capitalism will be its own post one day though.
Here is a great intro on Halloween and its origins from Anglophenia. Hint, it is not originally from the USA:
So there you go… the veil thins after the work of the harvest before we descend into darkness with the solstice. The veil thinned and people guised to walk among wicked ghouls and evil spirits without retribution. It is a fear response to those who have passed, they are thought of as ghosts and not ancestors.
Now Día de los Muertos, the fun holiday where people may dress like fantastical skeletons and there is food, dancing, and ofrendas… I am hoping most of you saw the movie Coco which dips its toe into the explanation. After the work of the harvest before we descend into darkness with the solstice the veil thins. It is a joyful response to welcome those who have passed, welcoming the ancestors back home to this realm for a little bit.
Both Halloween and Día de los Muertos share origins from ancient people. I am actually curious about this phenomena of convergences because it seems most non-dualistic cultures that revered the fantastic based on seasons share commonality in when to recognize their dead. Harvest is a time to work hard and pray for good crops > the transition out of harvest is dependent on weather but everything is so fantastic it has to go beyond what you see every day > at least you have some line to your ancestors to get your back > you revere them with gratitude for what you have or placate them in hopes of the next year. Now do you meet ancestors with ideas of fear and conditional retribution or with joy and unconditional love?
Combining these ideas is like combining Michael Myers from Halloween with Miguel from Coco… two totally different things! This goes beyond cultural heritage and is based on values and intent.
THIS IS WHERE WE GET INTO APPRECIATION VERSUS APPROPRIATION. As soon as this line starts I feel like people call out the PC police and the conversation is over in one of the three categories I started this post with. I roll with some folks who think we are truly in a time of convergences as we can learn so much from each other. You can appreciate wanting to connect to your ancestors or that others do it without dishonoring the values of unconditionally welcoming the dead.
This means you can be a skeleton for Halloween to run around and go on a candy grab or wow friends at a costume contest without wearing calavera make-up if it does not relate to the spirit of celebrating what can be a sacred time. If you are curious about the sacred of this time then participate with a local organization that invites people to learn more and be respectful.
I am going to leave you with the hard question now. Can you dress a kid up like Miguel from Coco for Halloween or would that be un poco loco?