In all human groups there are myths that make up his identity and help its cohesion. For example, the one that governs american society and speaks of the “american dream”. “The americans we get educated with the idea that, by the mere fact of being so, we have the right to become what we want. The promise of personal transformation is an important part of our mythology cultural. For this reason, many americans, myself included, referred to Halloween as his favorite holiday. That day we tried to demonstrate that the myth is true, disfrazándonos of monsters like Dracula, one of whose characteristics is to change of shape, as if chasing the american dream,” explains David J. Skal by e-mail.

Born in Ohio in 1952, Skal is an “expert in the culture of horror”, a title obtained thanks to their knowledge of the classic horror of Hollywood, the life and work of Bram Stoker or his essays on popular culture, as the Monster show and Halloween. Death goes to party. This last, newly-published in Spain by EsPop, explains the origin, evolution and influence of this festival, whose origin dates back to pagan rituals linked to the agricultural cycle.

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“The traditions associated with the seasons and the crops exist in all societies. In the case of western culture, the early christian church moved the date many of their most important celebrations to coincide with ancient pagan festivals. Today we call Halloween and Christmas, but it was all part of the effort to convert the pagans to christianity.”

in Addition to its link with the nature or the religion, Halloween is a distinctly subversive. During a night, the roles changes, the monster —the different— leaves his hiding place and the kids terrorize adults with their “trick or treat”. “Halloween has many similarities with ancient celebrations in europe and in the Feast of fools in which, for a day, the commoners dressed as kings and the social order is reversed. At the beginning of the TWENTIETH century, in the united States it was common for white children painted in black and vice versa. Although today’s costumes with a racial taboo, people like to take advantage of any opportunity to enabled or disabled, and Halloween allows you to convert those willing to break social conventions in a ritual controlled”.

Among many other topics, The death goes to party discusses how political correctness has influenced Halloween, a festival in which almost everything was allowed. The author relates cases of universities who advise their students not to dress up of people with disabilities or from other cultures, as they kicked off the party hats, mutilation, hats mexican, patches, pirate or clothes of a beggar.

however, the greatest danger to which he was exposed to Halloween in that crusade for the correction occurred in 2001. Weeks after the attacks of 11-S, many americans asked to suspend the festivities, considering the jokes about the dead were an affront to the victims. Another part of the population, however, argued that terrorism was not going to influence their lives or the political correctness of their freedom of expression and, not only were turbans and djellabas, but they completed the costume with masks of Bin Laden, that swept in sales that year.

Several participants in the garb of boxes participate in a parade in Kawasaki (Japan), October 28, 2018. KIYOSHI OTA

cultural Imperialism

Emerged in Europe, the holiday that gave rise to Halloween, traveled to the americas with the pilgrims. In recent years, has embarked on a new journey that has led her back to the old continent and to almost all westernized countries, some of which come with concern how their traditions about the dead are displaced by this festivity imported.

A suspicion that, as detailed by Skal, you forget that all traditions are mixed and evolve, including Halloween. In fact, items that are considered to be inherent to this feast are relatively recent. So it is with the iconography that presents the witches as old women grotesque, played with pointy hats and dressed in black. Far from proceeding from the Middle Ages or Baroque, that imagery has its origin in the Witch of the West played by Margaret Hamilton in the version of The wizard of Oz, 1939. Until then, the witches of Halloween were young pizpiretas and flappers dressed in colorful costumes.

A woman dressed as a witch participates in a parade in Salem, Massachusetts (united States), October 4, 2018. JOSEPH PREZIOSO

“There are people who complain of the invasion of Halloween, or of the appropriation of mexican culture by the anglo-saxons. But I live in southern California, where there is a heavy hispanic population, and the majority of the people seem to enjoy the decorations and rituals of the Day of the Dead mix with the Halloween. Yes, then each community is associated with the dead in a different way. The americans, through creations such as Dracula and Casper, while the Latin culture honors the dead with more seriousness”.

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