Hola! I am back, after a long Harvest, I felt I needed some time to take for myself. As I was thinking what to write, my fingers started to type and words starting to come and make my posts alive again. With this post I do not intend to criticize, or diminish other people’s believes. I just needed to come to a conclusion of why I do not celebrate Halloween or similar festivities.
Catholic Background.- When I was a little girl my family was Catholic. As good Catholics, every November 1st we would ask permission to go to pray for the souls. We loved doing it, it was not just because we could pray and symphathyze with other people’s feelings. But also, it was an opportunity to hang around with the neighborhood kids, eat some bizcochuelos and drink something yummy. The last year I remember doing that, was the year my grandpa died, 1985. That November my mom baked so many things at home. All favorites of mi abuelito. People came and went to pray to the Altar we set up. And I felt terrified by the fact that perhaps there was a chance my grandpa’s soul was still there. After all, he had the heart attack in that house. We had the viewing in the house. Everything in the house had memories of him. I hated dead, I hated to not having my grandpa around anymore. A year after that, my family became Evangelical Christian. With it, many of my fears disappeared. Suddenly I did not fear death anymore, there was Esperanza. And Esperanza does not resemble fear.
After moving to the States, I did not care much about Halloween. In reality, I did not know much about it. The only thing I knew was that kids would dress in disfraces and go Trick or treating to the houses. I found it amusing, specially knowing that many people celebrating, would do it because that is what we do on October 31st. Digging into History I learned that the history behind Halloween was very similar to Todos Santos. Dead souls coming back on that date, kids were just disguised to fool the souls. And houses were decorated with spooky things to scare the souls away. One thing I could not help but notice is, the incredible amount of candy that Americans consume on that date.
Day of the dead, trying to be a bit more empathetic with Latinos, specially Mexicans. I started to read about the Day of the dead. I came across a very similar focus to Todos Santos and to Halloween. One thing it called to my attention is the point they make in Dead as part of Life. Again, I still do not like having Catarinas, Calaveras, or anything that resembles dead around me. I am a Christian, I am not going to compromise my beliefs and what Christ has done for me, just to go with what the rest do.
Trunk or Treating then? Last year we decided to take our kids to a Church event. An event that would replace the need of Halloween or Todos Santos with something else. Well, it was different, I never did something like that in my life before. I was specially surprised by the quantity of Candy my kids got. Around 160 pieces in total. I was happy to see 4 red apples in the mist of candy. My mother in law laughed at me when she saw my Halloween face after I counted the Candy.
What now? So the question is, do I really need to celebrate Halloween? Do I want to pass the Tradition to my kiddos? I live in a multicultural country where consumption and marketing dictate emotions, more than Culture or History do. I do not want my kids to move just for emotions, traditions or free candy. I want my kids to be leaders. I want my kids to be free of death and have eternal life in the One who gives Eternal Life, in Jesus Christ.
This year we wont be trick or treating, we wont go to a church for candy either. We won’t do an altar or Catarinas or decorate skulls. Perhaps we will explore our background, Irish, German, Bolivian, Aymaran or should we just call it American?
Some Ideas I have
- Bake something special. Pizza, popcorn and caramel Apples.
- Create a Genealogical Tree of the Family
- Create a photo Album of the family.
- Make my kids interview their great Grandma Dixie.
- Give thanks for the lives of the ones that came before us, so we could enjoy this mambo called life.
- Give thanks to the Giver for Life and Eternal Life.