October 31, 2011It is 8:30 PM PDT and all is quiet. Not a single swash of soap, not a single rotten egg on the car. Those are symbols of days gone by, when mischievious early teens started spreading their wings. Neighbors who were not well regarded knew so the day after Halloween because of the "tricks" played on them.
Today is a different. Children are taught to be very sensitive toward others. Spontaneity is encouraged, so long as the feelings of others are respected.
Granted when eggs flew, it was not malicious. Fun for the throwers and not so much fun when the throwers' parents took them by the ear to clean up the mess they made.
Luckily Halloween is a one day event. You should have seen all the cute youngsters who are now populating our neighborhood. And they were very polite. They took the allotted number of treats and did not return because they did not get all they wanted. Furthermore, they all said please and thank you.
In Mexico, celebrating the ghosts of former family members, friends and acquaintances is multiple days, starting on October 27 with the celebration of Fiesta de las Santas Animas, or Feast of the Holy Souls. The living family members clean departed family member graves. Temporary alters are erected, food is shared, family members remember the departed and talk to their spirits. The event becomes a celebration of life. That is the 27th of October.
Then comes All Saints Day or Halloween. All Saints Day celebrates the lives of the children who have passed. Los Angelitos are the center of the celebrations. They are the prelude to the final celebration, which is November 2, Dios de los Muertos.
Dios de los Muertos is the Day of the Dead. It is a national holiday, and all the grown-up ghosts arrive in full force. Of course the non-dead friends and family members must celebrate too. The result is picnics by grave sites, celebrations of passed lives and a reincarnation of those loved ones who are no longer present.
Pretty spectacular! Life is precious, but unfortunately death is part of life. Nice to see those departed loved ones remembered each year for all the good things they did and represented.
In both instances there is fun for all. But, my vote is for the process of celebrating the lives of departed loved ones over a period of time as a way of instilling respect for others.
But that is just me....