Hi there. It is my favorite time of year when the leaves changes, when the air cools, and when we celebrate all the spirits. October is a busy and fun time, but it is also a time for many of us to remember. If you read my series last year, you may remember what Dia de los Muertos is truly about. Here is a link to last year’s series. I will still be doing some educational information during this series, but there is some very interesting and enlightening information to teach you why this holiday of remembrance is so important to the Latino community.
Today I am going to start this very sacred holiday with the topic of Cultural Appropriation. Since this is a combination of both a cultural and religious holiday, we do need to be sensitive to how sacred the holiday is to those who observe it. As a latina, I find it very important to embrace our own cultural identity without harboring resentment toward those who are intrigued and curious about it. I think we all gain something by learning about the different cultures of the world and teaching others about them. We do a huge disservice, not just to our community, but to others trying to understand our culture when we answer questions with hostility. YES, these holidays are so important and sacred. They should be respected and not be mocked. Remember though, we can never learn without asking questions. So when that person you assume is not Latino (but very may well be) asks you questions about what this holiday is, what it means and why you do all these things that you do, educate them happily. They are trying to understand something they have not had the opportunity to experience. It is a beautiful thing to share all the cultures and traditions with others.
With that being said, there is a huge difference between “cultural appropriation” and “cultural appreciation.” Yes, I have included bloggers again who are not Latino because I don’t believe in excluding others and I believe the best way to spread culture is to allow others to peek inside it and tell us how they interpret it. Isn’t that what traditions are, an interpretation of how we perceive them? So just because you see a person who you feel does not share your own personal cultural identity, please don’t scorn them when you see them appreciating all the beauty and art of holidays. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a white person, or any other race/colored person to appreciate a holiday we observe. I may be a little sensitive to this since my husband is white, my nieces are black and asian, and my family it just a rainbow of cultures so we share all those traditions with one another. We would not be able to bridge these gaps if we were hostile with explaining or talking about traditions. Don’t feel guilty if you are white and interested in learning more of this holiday. That is what education and cultural appreciation are about.
The huge problem for trying to understand, or maybe just not bothering to understand, is the cultural appropriation of any culture, especially when we have become a society trying to be much more steadfast in regards to people of color, or people who are considered the minority. We, as a whole, are mostly trying to change the way races and cultures are perceived. So when you are learning and appreciating Dia de los Muertos, remember, this is not playing dress up and this is NOT HALLOWEEN! Yes, I shouted that out, because Dia de los Muertos is not halloween and not to be confused with. Halloween has both a pagan and religious history, but they are not the same. Dia de los Muertos or All Saints Day and All Souls Day, are days to remember and celebrate your dead loved ones. I’m going to throw this out there- any costume in combination with “Day of the Dead” is making a mockery of this sacred holiday. Using sugar skulls, calaveras, dia de los muertos in your Halloween costume is seen as disrespectful to the true meaning. You are doing something you think looks cool and hip. To the latino community, it is taking away from the sacredness of a day they celebrate to in a way, bring the dead back for a day. They share stories, songs, food and remember those they love. Many are remembering their children, spouses, friends, parents… and we all know how important those times are. So think twice before you paint your face like a calavera for the sake of costume. Now, characters are different, and if you choose to be a book of life character, i view that more as a cosplay. Basically, it comes down to if you have to second guess it, don’t do it. We are becoming more in tune with the way we appropriate people. We know it is disrespectful to the culture of the Native Americans to put on their traditional clothing, headdresseses, etc. The same goes for dressing as a Calavera or Catrina. It is a slap in the face to the Latino community. And basically, if you are doing any sort of race inspired costume, you really need to pay attention to what you are appropriating. We are all people in a world where yes, we are more sensitive to each other and really need to learn how to respect one another’s cultures (within reason. Please don’t ask me to respect anyone who has racism in their tradition. Nope, not happening.)
And lastly, my fellow latinos out there (and really anyone guilty of this) can we PLEASE stop judging people based on the tone of their skin? Have we not come far enough to realize that we cannot “read” someone’s culture based on their features? Yes, there are black latinos, yes there are white latinos. And it is this way with all cultures. Please stop putting down others or judging them based on the skintone they have. I have many many “guero” family members who are considered “full mexican.” These amazing things called genes mean that you can have a family who looks like mine from the same 2 parents:
Ok, now that I have that long winded reply, the 2 bloggers I am introducing today is Stacey at From a Box with this gorgeous wine bag. If you are a wine drinker, there are even some wines out that celebrate the Dia de los Muertos theme like “Rojo Dulce” or “Dia de los Merlot” Click the photo to go to the link.
Then we have my lovely friend Amy with this gorgeous bow she has made. Oh, and by the way, I’m sure this girl know way more spanish than I do. Click the photo to go to her link.
Meet the bloggers who are joining the 2nd Dia de los Muertos tour. They will be bringing you a variety of inspired crafts, stories and a few freebies. Here is the full schedule if you missed a day.
And my lovely friend Jeanine, from StitchART came up with this awesome free motion stitch embroidery pattern HERE to celebrate the Dia de los Muertos theme, and there are even pets included.YES, pets are definitely included in this holiday.
I will be getting mine as soon as I get my money mañana.
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Don’t forget to check in daily for some more amazing projects. My girls are amazing!
Thanks for stopping by.