Dia de los Muertos and Other Harvest Holidays Getting a Bad Rap

Okay. I think it’s time to inch the Religion topics slowly away from the frothing and screeching that passes for the political in Breaking News. With that in mind, let us use this All Saints Day to discuss something much less divisive and polarizing: religious appropriation.

Dia de los Muertos  is not, as some would have it, ‘Mexican Halloween.’ It is, instead, a tradition steeped in cultural history that goes back prior to the Spanish Conquistadores and celebrates the relationships we had with people who are now dead. Christianity replaced it with ‘All Saints Day,’ a day to pray for the saints and for those whom we loved and are no longer living.

Samhain was a harvest festival in which people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits (they aren’t cavorting with or welcoming them) and the costume wearing has lasted through the centuries and going door to door praying for the souls of those inside in exchange for food has changed into trick or treat.

I know it can be a somewhat easy reaction to cry ‘cultural appropriation’ when things change (as they tend to do), but I don’t think it’s necessarily harmful to hang onto traditions we enjoy and let the more obnoxious ones go (like throwing a sacrifice on that bonfire), or to put a new spin on something obscure that could use an update (like how Guy Fawkes Day is now an anti-Government statement for some misinformed people).

How did Halloween come to be seen as ‘evil’? What is really so harmful about a bunch of kids dressing up and going out to beg for candy*?

*and no, the razor blade in the apple didn’t happen until after it became an urban legend.

Article URL : https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/day-of-the-dead

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