Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day

Three traditions in a row!

First off we just had American Halloween which is nothing like the other two Mexican traditions. It’s origins have morphed and been nearly forgotten and led way to a total consumer holiday. Rare is the person who now makes their own costume or reuses it (the dilemma experienced by Critters & Crayons). Some of my goofy acquaintances back home even dressed in matching beer pong costumes.
Don’t even get me started on the increasingly shorter, lower-cut, more revealing costumes made for women. Mike above even said:

Halloween Alert: If you are not Sexy in regular clothes most likely your not going to to be sexy in a Halloween costume.

Halloween, though, continues to evolve. I bought $$ worth of candy (and so did a record-breaking amount of other people who spent $2.3B on candy) but had only a handful of kids come by – I’m sure they were all hitting the McMansions of the North. Being a downtown resident, we see a lot more walkers (not the zombie kind) so every viejito or viejita that would walk by would take a handful of candy. My neighbor came over when he finished his candy-giving duties and said, “hey, let’s go give them out to the plazas.” The Metro bus riders and homeless of Jarvis are now part of a new Halloween creation that brought us downtowners satisfaction = HalloClaus… or if you prefer SantaWeen.

My neighbor in action:

FYI - there were little kids sans costumes who were very happy to get treats

Do buses really run close to 10pm or were people just enjoying the benches??

But those of us of Mexican descent have November 1st and 2nd to also celebrate the lives of our dearly departed. November 1st is All Saints’ Day to honor those who died as children. Burned in my memories are the photos of babies in our family who were being tended at their wakes. I imagine that memories were easier to hold on to with photos of a dead angelito (literally it means little angel but refers to a dead child) even though no photos may have existed of the child while s/he lived.

November 2nd marks the day where houses are cleaned and prepared for those who come back to be with us in spirit. In Laredo, the cemetery seems to bloom overnight (photo will be included after I take it tomorrow since families are just beginning to make it out today) in colorful flowers and gifts to those who have passed away. Check out one beautiful tribute created by a friend in honor of her father and brother:

Fernanda Rodriguez' altar to her father and brother as she remembers honors them on All Souls' Day

Neither of these two days should be confused with Halloween but… I have the feeling that our US consumer culture is going to start to creep in little by little. In Nuevo Laredo, you already see many (too many, I think) vendors selling food, drink, trinkets and all sorts of plastic flowers for graves. In Laredo, it is mainly still the flowers since the cemetery has its rules.

My favorite part of this time of the year was visiting the Center for the Arts’ display of altares (altars created to honor relatives or others who have died). But… what happened?? There seemed to be no announcement for the altares exhibit, or was there?? I gave up on looking at their really difficult to read website and went to see any reference to exhibits on facebook. It looks like, the last event planned at the Center for the Arts was … can’t tell. But, you do see that the LCA director was honored at the local SOL Masquerade Ball. That $100 per person event probably didn’t want competition from a community driven altares exhibit :P. The director is a really nice guy but… que paso?

The SOL Masquerade Ball actually had a little competition by the “other” SOL group – the (S*** Outta Luck) Occupy Laredo group. They sponsored a masquerade protest at Jarvis Plaza:

Courtesy photo from Herrera Flickr account

I was at neither but I could have gone to both – I’m such a fence-sitter. Props to the Occupy Laredo group for their sticking power and willingness to express concerns that I also share, although… I did miss them on the actual Halloween day since my neighbor & I thought some candy would be going their way too.

Instead, on Halloween we ended up at the Bender meeting up with the Laredo Paranormal Research Society. I don’t do investigations but they appreciated the candy, I think.

Oh – and by the way… the winner, in my opinion, of the scariest Halloween outfit goes to my anonymous friend who thinks he might be recognized by his physique. I told him he looks like many Laredoans, including me :P. Anyway, you knew it was coming… the BORDERTOWN: LAREDO costume:
Sorry but I just laughed and laughed when I saw it. I am sure there were many other creative costumes out there.

Regardless of which tradition you celebrate, I hope you enjoyed it and it brought you peace, or fun, or marigolds, or pan de muerto, or plenty of candy.

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About Que Fregados

Que Fregados is a quirky look at little things that strike us funny in Laredo and the unique Latino culture. Suggestions and comments are welcome. You can also email to quefregados@gmail.com.
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5 Responses to Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day

  1. That’s a beautiful display by your friend in honor of her relatives! Nice post-

  2. Anonymous says:

    umm, history has told it’s story of all hallow’s eve as the night before all souls have entrance into this realm, folks were told to put out treats to make the deceased happy and keep outta harms way. only children were allowed to leave the house because it was believed that passed souls will not harm children and they toted around treats with them just in case. *sigh* i really wish more people would read a book or two before assumptions of “commercialism” are made.

    as for the mexican traditions, i always liked that while i grew up next to the cemetery this was the time of year it looked like a rainbow, quite pleasant. ;o)

  3. peter says:

    It is believed and I have read and seen tv documentarys that especially kids are targeted and kids are the most first to have been tormented by those souls that have passed away to the other side unexplained unrested souls. putting kids to be believed that won’t be in a harms way think again kids are the number 1 in first choice for those unrested souls to targeting them.

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