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Why I Prefer El Dia De Los Muertos Over Halloween

I don’t know about your parents, but mine made a big deal about not accepting candy from strangers. It was a big no-no. “If a stranger offers you candy, you don’t take it and run towards me immediately.” That was a daily instruction from my loving dad whenever we went to the park. Therefore, I’ve always been confused by Halloween, a holiday during which strangers don’t even approach you – it’s actually you approaching the stranger (usually dressed in a creepy costume) and asking for candy. Maybe I don’t get it because I’m from Spain, where Halloween is a recent import. We celebrated “Todos los Santos” instead, which is a boring version of “El Dia De Los Muertos” where you gather with your family and go to the cemetery to cry about lost loved ones. So not being a big fan of “Todos Los Santos” or “Halloween,” I found “El Dia De Los Muertos” to be a fascinating celebration. Yes, you go to the cemetery to visit the grave of your ancestors, but you don’t cry over your loss, you do quite the opposite – you honor their lives and celebrate their stories with food and music. How can you not love that? Because here’s the thing – death is part of life, not the end of it. It might be the end of that chapter for the person who passed away, but not the end for the ones who stay behind. And as someone who lost a father at a pretty early age, I can tell you, death becomes a daily reminder that life is precious and that your ancestors are still part of your life. I think about my dad every day. It’s been over 3 years, and there is not a single day I don’t think of him. So I get super excited on October 31st to build an altar with a picture of him and his favorite dessert, surrounded by my grandparents, my great aunts, and uncles, and all my loved ones who crossed over to the other side and have a party that celebrates the massive impact they made on my life because I am who I am thanks to them. Photo by Efra Gomez. MUA is Erika Magallanes. Styling by Albert Acosta.  
I don’t know about your parents, but mine made a big deal about not accepting candy from strangers. It was a big no-no. “If a stranger offers you candy, you don’t take it and run towards me immediately.” That was a daily instruction from my loving dad whenever we went to the park. Therefore, I’ve always been confused by Halloween, a holiday during which strangers don’t even approach you – it’s actually you approaching the stranger (usually dressed in a creepy costume) and asking for candy. Maybe I don’t get it because I’m from Spain, where Halloween is a recent import. We celebrated “Todos los Santos” instead, which is a boring version of “El Dia De Los Muertos” where you gather with your family and go to the cemetery to cry about lost loved ones. So not being a big fan of “Todos Los Santos” or “Halloween,” I found “El Dia De Los Muertos” to be a fascinating celebration. Yes, you go to the cemetery to visit the grave of your ancestors, but you don’t cry over your loss, you do quite the opposite – you honor their lives and celebrate their stories with food and music. How can you not love that? Because here’s the thing – death is part of life, not the end of it. It might be the end of that chapter for the person who passed away, but not the end for the ones who stay behind. And as someone who lost a father at a pretty early age, I can tell you, death becomes a daily reminder that life is precious and that your ancestors are still part of your life. I think about my dad every day. It’s been over 3 years, and there is not a single day I don’t think of him. So I get super excited on October 31st to build an altar with a picture of him and his favorite dessert, surrounded by my grandparents, my great aunts, and uncles, and all my loved ones who crossed over to the other side and have a party that celebrates the massive impact they made on my life because I am who I am thanks to them. Photo by Efra Gomez. MUA is Erika Magallanes. Styling by Albert Acosta.  

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