Dia de Muertos y Halloween

A short post from Oaxaca:

For many years we have attempted to combine the spirit of both Dia de Muertos and Halloween in the way we´ve decorated, in our parties that featured jack o´lanterns and ofrendas, in the way we´ve recreated panteones between the stuffed monsters in our front yard. Its a method of navigating a life between cultures but more than that, of creating our own culture based on the world around us. To me this is what it means to be Chicana.
So to my surprise, I´ve found the same process existing here in Mexico. Halloween is huge here, bigger than in the US and the costumes much more original and entertaining. There are no little princesses and sexy nurses here! The streets are filled little lloranas, bloody mummies, werewolves, viudas negras, brujitas and vampiros, marching and dancing to tamborazos on streets filled with cempasuchil, amaranta and copal. It´s an amazing mix of traditions that seem to blend in seamlessly.
Take that purists!

Halloween song from DF:
Somos las calaveritas
Venimos por los dulces
Si no nos dan los dulces
Los vamos a espantar!

More when I get back…

3 thoughts on “Dia de Muertos y Halloween

  1. cindylu says:

    Oh, Mexico will eventually catch up with all the tacky (oops, I mean sexy) Halloween costumes.

    On another note, they (the Sam Huntington’s of the world) don’t seem to get that culture is in flux and that you can mix both traditions. It must be a sad world where you always have to choose.

  2. jk says:

    It’s funny that we have the perception that Halloween in Mexico is Day of the Dead, and it’s religious. There’s some projection going on, particularly by non-immigrants. A web search turns up a lot of pages that quickly get to that bit, about how it’s a religious celebration.

    One page explains that Halloween in Mexico originates from NAFTA. http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/98legacy/10-29-1998.html

    Traditionalists in Mexico decry the rise of Halloween.

    Says that article: “Those who celebrate Halloween are worshipping a culture of death that is the product of a mix of pagan customs,” the Archdiocese of Mexico published in an article on its Web site Monday. “The worst thing is that this celebration has been identified with neo-pagans, Satanism and occult worship.”

    Celebrating Halloween, he said, citing a church authority, is “like inviting Satan into your home.”

    Personally, I think they’re seeing the extreme modernity of NAFTA, and branding it as pagan, because they can’t very well attack modernity and not come off like French philosophers. Wearing costumes doesn’t seem very pagan to me. If anything, it is totally postmodern. It’s a tactic to deal with the modern condition, where identity is stripped and re-sold back to you.

    Of course, some people go beyond the tactic, and embrace a strategy of daily Halloween — an open disguise to form a community. Zapatistas or youth clothing culture.

    well I live with snakes and lizards
    and other things that go bump in the night
    cos to me everyday is halloween
    I have given up hiding and started to fight
    I have started to fight

    well any time, any place, anywhere that I go
    all the people seem to stop and stare
    they say ‘why are you dressed like it’s halloween?
    you look so absurd, you look so obscene’

    o, why can’t I live a life for me?
    why should I take the abuse that’s served?
    why can’t they see they’re just like me
    it’s the same, it’s the same in the whole wide world

    well I let their teeny minds think
    that they’re dealing with someone who is over the brink
    and I dress this way just to keep them at bay
    cos halloween is everyday
    it’s everyday

    o, why can’t I live a life for me?
    why should I take the abuse that’s served?
    why can’t they see they’re just like me
    it’s the same, it’s the same in the whole wide world

    o, why can’t I live a life for me?
    why should I take the abuse that’s served?
    why can’t they see they’re just like me
    i’m not the one that’s so absurd

    why hide it?
    why fight it?
    hurt feelings
    best to stop feeling hurt
    from denials, reprisals
    it’s the same it’s the same in the whole wide world

  3. Sabrina says:

    Have a great time! It sounds wonderful. Apio mentioned you were in Mexico on Halloween. By the way when you come back let me know if you know more about the conference happening in December in LA. People at the reading group are wondering about it.

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