October 30, 2012

Day of the Dead or Halloween?

Which do you prefer?

I used to win prizes as a kid for my scary Halloween costumes, but after I learned about the Day of the Dead, especially how it's celebrated in Mexico, I no longer had any love left for our American version, especially as it gets increasingly violent, bloody, gory, vampire and zombie oriented.

Both are rooted in the traditions of All Hallow's Eve, European festivities that have both pagan and Christian roots, depending on who you read.  In Mexico, these got mixed in with Native beliefs where the line between the living and dead was the thinnest at this time.  If you were sensitive enough, you just might be able to hear some songs from the past, a longing in the air...  thus, why not bring gifts to please the dead?  Their favorite drinks, cookies, and other goodies?  Just in case they might be able to reach out and have a sip or take a nibble.  The Mexican celebration is all about life and enjoyment, where ours embraces darkness and death.

In the late 1800's, Jose Guadalupe Posada popularized the Day of the Dead with his skeleton caricatures.  Depicting all kinds of daily scenarios with the skeletons, his work launched a folk art tradition that escalated in the 1940's and continues to this day.  Political commentary often lay as a sub-text under the bawdy guise of the ridiculous or humorous.  

I especially like the reminder that we are all really the same under the skin: bones with some superficial adornments.  Who cares what color your skin or eyes are?  How tall or short, whether you still have hair or not.  (Teeth might be a good thing to have as a skeleton...)  In the end, we all have the same destiny, eh?

Whichever you celebrate, make it safe and fun!  Visit our treasury above and shop TAFA!

1 comment:

  1. Day of the Dead and Halloween are such fun events...but Day of the Dead art seems to be available all year, so I vote for it!!!!


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