LA Times: America Needs A Dia de las Muertos Or Something

What is that? It is Day of the Dead

(HuffPost) What’s the difference between Día de los Muertos and Halloween?
Día de los Muertos — also known as “Día de Muertos,” or “Day of the Dead” in English — is a holiday with Mexican origins that is celebrated on November 1 – 2. While some imagery might be close to that of Halloween, there are significant differences between the two. Día de los Muertos is a day to celebrate death — or, more specifically, the deceased — while on Halloween, death is seen as something to be feared. Día de los Muertos has both indigenous origins from the Aztec festival for Mictecacihuatl, The Lady of The Dead, and Catholic origins from the Spanish conquistadors’ All Saints and All Souls Day.

OK. Sounds interesting. Especially the wild costumes. And, it should be noted that some have it beginning on October 31st. Let’s see what Melinda Welsh, former editor of the Sacramento News & Review, thinks

Americans need a better version of Halloween: an official Dia de los Muertos

It took the brilliant Pixar film “Coco” for me to figure out what was missing: the dancing skeletons, the flower-adorned grave sites, the altars crowded with candles and framed photos of deceased loved ones. I’m talking about Dia de los Muertos, and though the celebration of this Mexican holiday is already established in Latin corners of the United States, I’m proposing we go full throttle and declare the Day of the Dead an official American holiday.

Here’s why I’m stumping for the idea. I’m a 62-year-old journalist, first diagnosed with cancer in 2014. As I’ve written in The Times on other occasions, despite surgery, chemo and radiation, my disease metastasized in 2015. When three different doctors told me I would live six months or “a yearish,” I began to think a lot about death.

Until then, like most Americans, I’d avoided the subject. Death was something to run away from — a giant negative, a dark mystery, the end of everything. Pain and grief seemed all that awaited any consideration, forced or otherwise, of what Shakespeare called “the undiscovered country.” It doesn’t take departed psychologist Ernest Becker, who won the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for his book “The Denial of Death,” to recognize that most of us will do anything to ignore mortality until it’s coming straight for us or a loved one.

For Becker, this kind of avoidance “pervades human culture” and “is one of the deepest sources of intolerance, aggression, and human evil” on Earth. I’ve learned the hard way to stop with the death denial. And that’s where “Coco” enters into it.

The Day of the Dead acknowledges, joyfully, that an end is coming for us all.

Well, you know, I can see her point, especially when she writes

Dia de los Muertos is a celebration, but it’s no frat party. It’s got a deeply spiritual side. In Mexico, families pay their respects to the souls of the dead with parades, picnics around grave sites, all-night vigils, prayer gatherings and lots and lots of music. Some families build altars — ofrendas — to the dead, heaped with mementos, the deceased’s favorite food and drink, and photos. They tell stories of lives lived and loved ones gone. Religion plays a role, but the festivities are not really about belief in an afterlife. Ultimately, the Day of the Dead is a fiesta of what ties together the living and the dead.

Perhaps at the same time we could bring Halloween back to being something scary, rather than an excuse to see who can wear the sleaziest costume and get beyond liquored up. But, wait, what’s this

Formally expanding this beloved Mexican holiday into the United States could be a repentant bow to a country whose relations with America are at an all-time low thanks to border walls, ethnic slurs, family separations and cynical immigration politics. And it’s not just that country we’d be acknowledging — parts of Africa, China and Japan also reserve a special day each year to honor their dead. Towns and cities all over the West already make room for the holiday with sugar skulls and papier-mâché skeletons, pan de muertos and ofrendas laid out among the headstones in cemeteries, in museum galleries and in parks.

And that’s how you ruin an interesting piece, delving into hardcore leftist politics in support of illegal aliens.

And it would also be amusingly fun when the social justice warriors start screeching about cultural appropriation. And you know they would.

Oh, and you just know that they’d turn it into a sexy holiday, right?

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3 Responses to “LA Times: America Needs A Dia de las Muertos Or Something”

  1. JGlanton says:

    That would be utter cultural appropriation. Especially because its not remotely part of American culture. Its just like a leftist to think that American society should and can be changed because they personally like something and think that it is “good”, and who wants to make others “repent” for stuff you think is “bad”. Go ahead and celebrate it if you like, it’s a free country. And talk to a mexican saint while you’re at it over a glass of mescal. Maybe it’ll catch on. Just don’t tell me what I should do and what is good for me. I think its primitive and unintellectual, but that’s just me. You’re not the only one out there dealing with cancer and looking for meaning in life and death. Try repenting for your own behavior, try helping others in need, and meet your end with a clear conscious.

  2. formwiz says:

    We in the Catholic Church have a religious observance called All Souls (or Saints) Day every November 2.

    Mexico combines that with Halloween into something I thought was rather gruesome (but that’s just me) .

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