Here’s the thing. One of Mexico’s most revered celebrations, Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), is not the same as Halloween. Yes, the Mexican religious festival does happen to coincide with the more commercial period of Halloween but in fact that is where any similarity ends. Apparently in the USA there are plenty of folk who like to mix it up and share Dia de Muertos with Halloween.
And yet, when we were staying in the small village of Patzcuaro, specifically to be part of the Dia de Muertos celebrations, we didn’t realise that the kids coming up to us and “annoying” us when we were having dinner, were in fact mumbling something about tricks and treats.
Except they were speaking in Spanish, so it took us a while to understand what they wanted. Also, us being Aussies, we don’t have much of an idea about Halloween so it wasn’t up there in our consciousness.
My admission to the world is that I was pretty dismissive of the sweet little kids and either ignored them or sent them on their way.
But then something clicked and the penny dropped and as we dragged ourselves from our self indulgent adult conversation and actually looked at these kids we realised that they were being really brave by approaching “grownups” and asking for whatever we might have in our pockets by way of Halloween treats. Maybe their little plastic pumpkin cups were a clue.
Next thing, Dave and Andrew jumped up and raced into the nearby convenience store and bought up all their candy supplies and then it was game on. Happy days and indulgence for young and old.
And there must have been some kind of kid signalling system because once the word was out we were swarmed by gorgeous dressed up Mexican kids, with their doting parents hovering nearby.
Kids are pretty adjustable and they didn’t seem to mind that they were wearing traditional Mexican Dia de Muertos face paint. They wanted the treats, and who could possibly deny them?
Over the next few days, every time a kid came near us there was a competition between the blokes to see who could be the jolliest and most generous. It was both heartwarming and hilarious to watch.
So I guess no matter what old traditional standards hold a community together, sugar and generosity will always make kids happy.
In case you missed it, here’s a link to my recent post about Dia de Muertos in Patzcuaro.
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