I’m not trying to harsh your mellow as you prepare for a wild and wicked night out trick-or-treating (or whatever you and yours do to mark the day). Honest, I’m not. I grew up in the US of A, and have many fond memories of trick-or-treating with friends. Of course, it was a bit different back then, much more low-key. Most people would carve a pumpkin (remember those slimy innards?) and most houses would have a bowl of candy for handing out. You’d usually make your own costume, and no one had parties.
That was also before the days of having to watch out for drugs or razor blades in the fruit or candy that you were given. Before parents felt they had to accompany their children “just in case”. So I guess progress isn’t everything.
Halloween is huge now. There are parties, and adults wearing costumes to work. Adults don costumes these days, not just kids, and I find that very, very odd. It has spread from the US to the UK, and even now to Spain.
Here we reach the gist of today’s blog. Kenton was talking to a friend in town this morning, and they were discussing Halloween. “I don’t understand it”, the man said. “It is fine for American and England to have their own traditions, but Halloween is not a tradition in Spain, so why is this new tradition starting?”
You see, Halloween coincides with a couple of important days in Latin culture. You probably have heard of Mexico’s “Day of the Dead”. Well, Spain has a somewhat similar tradition, Dia de Todos los Santos, or All Saint’s Day. Traditionally, it’s a day of taking flowers to the graves of loved ones, a day of sadness and remembrance. Grave stones are cleaned, and you may or may not attend Mass and pray for their souls, depending on your beliefs. It’s a serious day, in other words.
It is believed that Halloween, Day of the Dead and Todos Santos have a common origin to some extent. They are all around the same few days at the end of October/beginning of November. They are all concerned with ancestors. The latter two very much have a religious connotation to them, while Halloween absolutely doesn’t.
Locally, our friend was rather upset about Halloween coming to the village. He said,
Todos Santos is about respecting those who have died, not about parties and dressing up. Where is the respect in that?