Friday, October 31, 2014

The Day of the Dead and Halloween

I have many memories of Halloween as a child. I was Spiderman, Frankenstein, Dracula and even Superman. My mom made many of those costumes, and I recall the thrill of wearing them. As I grew older, I guess I became more jaded and kind of forgot about Halloween. I became too old for trick or treating and just lived vicariously.

For many of us, there is an all-too-commercial aspect of Halloween. The candy, the franchises for our heroes on the big screen and the movies that come out to scare us. It seems unfortunate that, like many of our days of celebration, Halloween has been converted into commercial success rather than a day to be together and enjoy for what it is.

One thing I find interesting is how different cultures have come to celebrate October 31st. While we celebrate by dressing up as someone else here in the US, many societies around the celebrate this day as the Day of the Dead. This is not just a fad, this is something that has been going on for decades and is gaining in popularity.

The Day of the Dead is one or more days dedicated to remembering the fondest memories of those who have passed on. Wherever the Day of the Dead is celebrated, people remember that we are born and we die, and that's OK. We are reminded once again that everything is temporary and passing. The only thing that is permanent is change. The Day of the Dead is not a somber event, it is one of celebration and joy. Just like Halloween is for us.

Tonight, we will be handing out candy to the kids who come by. It's such a treat to see what they're wearing and how excited 4, 5 and 6 year olds are when they see me open the door. They exclaim, "Trick or Treat!" and hold out their bags, ready for we bear at our door. They will be out there tonight, enjoying the jack-o-lanterns and the haunted houses and of course, the friendship with the other kids.

Have a happy and safe Halloween, kids!
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