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Halloween: A Perspective from Latin Americans Living in Canada
Halloween, a celebration that is observed on the 31st of October, is celebrated in many continents around the world, though most prominently in Europe and North America. In most Latin American countries, the Day of the Dead, or El Día de Los Muertos, takes the place of Halloween. Indeed, there are many similarities between the two concurrent celebrations – graveyards, skeletons, costumes – but there are also key differences, for instance in origins and purposes.
At this time, some of us may find ourselves intrigued by this topic, wondering how Latinos living in North America approach the celebration of Halloween and what they think of North American Halloween festivities.
In Cuba, as was confirmed to me by a Cuban student at Western University, Halloween is not celebrated. The student I interviewed celebrates Halloween only now that she lives in Canada, with her Cuban-Canadian friends. I was curious about whether she found the Halloween culture to be shocking in her first year living in Canada, but on the contrary, she “always saw it on TV back in Cuba, so it was not surprising, but it was definitely fun to celebrate it for real for the first time”.
On the contrary a student from Colombia described Halloween festivities in Colombia very consistently with North American traditions, for instance, the wearing of lavish costumes and door-to-door trick-or-treating. However, she noted that her candy loot in Canada tends to be much larger, and due to the cold climate, the costumes tend to cover more skin.
On the whole it would seem that Latin Americans living in North America quickly learn to embrace the Halloween culture. On the whole, they participate in the festivities and enjoy them, as those raised in North America do.
By Hailey Mackenzie Virgil Quig