Monday, October 30, 2006

No Pumpkin Left Unturned, No Ancestor Forgotten

Being bilingual and bicultural is double the fun, and nothing shows that more than Halloween and Day of the Dead.

From a decorating and shopping point of view, it could be overwhelming but I will share with you how I deal with it because this year it's a little different. My daughter Citlalli is now into aesthetics and is conscious of the fact that other houses on the block are decorated like Halloween. So I went all out at her request to make our house more in the holiday spirit: made a trip to the 99 Cent Store and Big Lots(!) for some low budget, no muss no fuss decor.

Brainwashing happens on the consumer level, I am convinced. From scary skulls to overly sexy costumes to evil witches, the message for Halloween is lost on me but obviously resonating w/ others. I opted for happy pumpkins, and non-menacing characters. I'm down on all the witch and scary bat stuff- after all, bats are pollinators and eat mosquitos, and witches were the medicine women of their people. Those are not evil traits.

Day of the Dead is such a different type of holiday. Besides having a more spiritual element, it doesn't go out of its way to scare the be-juju out of you. The goal is to heal your fear of death, not make you wake up sweating for fear of the grim reaper chopping off your head.

I assemble an altar each year to honor my past loved ones. Just found a deck of cards, so that and a racing form will be perfect for my dad. My grandmother gets honored with her photos and old Mexican jewelry of hers that she left me. My stepdaughter's baby (who didn't make it past 2 months) has a place by my grandmother (she loved babies). We put my husband's father and grandfather there, his Aunt Rosie, and the baby shoes of a child we lost in miscarriage many years ago.

The joy and laughter of Day of the Dead balance the fear and mischief of Halloween. Having them next to each other is an interesting study in contrasts, allowing us to enjoy them both to whatever extent we choose.

1 comment:

Crafty Chica said...

aw, i love this post!!! hope youhad a good day!!
kathy :-)