Soon it will be Halloween and I was thinking about how it is currently celebrated in the U.S. versus the Mexican version of El Dia del Muerte.
The U.S. version evolved from All Hallow's Eve, which was the night (eve) before All Saints and All Souls days on Nov. 1st and 2nd. (Hallows means holy ones.) Way back then it was a remembrance of our deceased loved ones and of the saints of the Catholic church. Now there is still All Saints and All Souls days on which Catholics go to church, but over time the eve has morphed into something else entirely.
El Dia del Muerte (the Day of the Dead), as I understand it, is celebrated from Oct. 31st through Nov. 2nd and is a fond remembrance of loved ones who have died The decorations do include skeletons, but the families celebrate with the foods and items their loved ones enjoyed. Instead of celebrating at home, they may choose to have a picnic at the grave site of a loved one. Sounds a bit creepy at night, but during the day might be quite enjoyable.
When I look at current Halloween decorations of bloody dismembered bodies and witches and gory masks, I cringe. I'm not suggesting that my family start boycotting Halloween, although I can see why families would choose to have nothing to do with it. But I do think it's good to know the origins of the holiday and pass that on to our children (and grandchildren someday).
In raising my children I have tried to focus on fall harvest decorations and mild-mannered costumes. (See my post on Oct. 10th, Halloween Costumes, for photos.) I admit we have ventured among the scary costumes at night to trick-or-treat because that's what Tom and I did as kids, and it's really hard to say no to all that candy. My sons would actually weigh their haul when they got home! Boys can make a competition out of anything.
Below are photos of some of the loved ones I think about on All Souls Day. They enjoyed seeing the grandchildren's Halloween costumes and were part of trick-or-treating fun in their own neighborhoods. I miss them so much!
Happy All Hallow's Eve!
|Tom's parents in 1997|
|My dad in 2001|