By Gabriela Carranza, Staff Writer
Día de Los Muertos is known for celebrating loved ones that passed on and celebrated on both November 1st and November 2nd. This holiday is very close to Halloween and is often confused for being a Halloween celebration. In any Halloween store you enter, you will eventually see a skeleton with flowers and bright patterns on their faces that resemble a sugar skull. However, Día de Los Muertos is NOT a Halloween holiday; it is its own holiday.
People in the US sexualize and appropriate Latin American culture. Día de Los Muertos is supposed to be a beautiful celebration for families with passed loved ones. Día de Los Muertos decorations should not be in any Halloween store, nor should they be in a Halloween section. People are disrespecting Latin American culture without knowing it.
There is a fine line between appropriation and appreciation. One of the worst mistakes a person can make is dressing up like La Catrina and making that well-known symbol out to seem scary and bloody. Halloween is about fear and gore, and Día de Los Muertos is about positivity and mourning your loved ones that have passed on into the afterlife. It is a time to decorate their gravestones and set up an altar with their pictures, marigolds, and food to help guide them back to you. It should not be seen as something to be scary; it should be treated as a celebration.
Even if you aren’t one of these people, you should still be aware of others around you and help educate everyone about the appropriation of different cultures. Be mindful of your surroundings and appreciate and respect the culture with honor. Once people understand why Día de Los Muertos is so important and not just a “Mexican Halloween.”
Appreciating Latin American culture and many different cultures, for that matter, is key to being respectful of one’s life.