Oct 31, 2009, 12:32 PM
Post #6 of 32
In 1981, when I first lived in Mexico (Tijuana), that city already felt Halloween's seductive presence. Kids dressed up (or not) and wandered around my very poor neighborhood knocking on doors and yelling, "Triqui triqui!"--not 'Trick or treat'. A small coin or a piece of hard candy satisfied them. The kids from more affluent Tijuana neighborhoods were schlepped across the border to neighboring San Ysidro or Chula Vista in search of better treats. In later years, vans filled with Mexican kids in costume showed up as far north as La Jolla, one of the far-northern, very wealthy San Diego communities.
During the years before I returned permanently to Mexico, I spent a great deal of time in la República. If I was in the interior during mid-to-late October, I noticed each year that there was more and more emphasis placed on Halloween doodads in supermarkets and dulcerías (candy shops). The more people from Mexico traveled to live and work in the USA, the more they came back with the appurtenances of the North of the Border holiday. The kids love it and the grownups support it. The new cry became, "Queremos Jaloguín! Queremos Jaloguín!" (We want Halloween! We want Halloween!)
I notice now that Jaloguín is a kids' holiday primarily in places where the Día de los Muertos has for years been little-celebrated. Not everywhere in Mexico keeps the traditional ways. Día de los Muertos is celebrated more or less traditionally in Michoacán and Oaxaca. Even in Michoacán and Oaxaca, visitors often think Muertos is more than anything a great chance for a mini-vacation and a reventón (big drunken blowout). Disrespect for indigenous tradition is rampant among many tourists, although foreign tourists are still curious about what's going on in the cemeteries during the night of November 1. Even in Pátzcuaro, heart of the Noche de Muertos celebrations in Michoacán, children currently wander the plazas carrying candle-lit carved calabazas (squash) asking for Jaloguín. Toss a small coin into the opening of the calabaza.
Elsewhere in Mexico, lip service is given to the old way of celebrating, but the new way often includes a perfunctory visit to the cemetery where loved ones are buried, a sigh and a shrug about the disappearance of the old ways, and a round or two or of chelas bien frías (ice cold beers) to toast los santos difuntos (the holy dead).
It's taken me quite a while to come to grips with Jaloguín in Mexico. I finally decided that it's not leaving--Jaloguín is here to stay. It can live side by side with el Día de los Muertos. Like many other Mexicans, I sigh and shrug and let it have its way. I don't like it, I try not to participate in it, but I'm afraid it's here for good.
(This post was edited by esperanza on Oct 31, 2009, 12:37 PM)