Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reformation Day / All Saint's Day / Halloween / Día de los muertos

Whatever you call it - it's either the 31st of October, or the 1st of November.

Jack-o-lantern and trick-o-treat goodie bag
Now - let me start by saying - I am not going to preach on the merits of having a Halloween / All Saint's Day / Halloween / Día de los muertos (heretofore referenced as Halloween) or not having a Halloween celebration.  I grew up celebrating Halloween.  Costumes, decorating the entire house, my dad answering the door in his hunchback costume and scaring the local kids.  We had huge parties, and celebrated the day.  Once I had a child, we continued, in part, the tradition.  Always had a costume for her, went trick-or-treating, and attended parties.  When I became a member of a church we continued in the celebration of Harvest Festivals, and ultimately a Reformation Party.  So - however you choose to celebrate this day - go for it!

Madison's self-made bat costume
On to the reason for this blog post.  Every Tuesday, many of you know, I host a Kids Club in the community of Armenia Bontio.  For the past almost 10 months I have been taking the kids through the Children's Catechism. Teaching them the basics of the Christian Faith.  They learn answers to basic questions, and memorize bible verses.  They hear stories from the bible, have a craft to commemorate the day, play games - you get the idea.  I often bring in cultural experiences to broaden their minds.  I teach about Thanksgiving - the day set aside in the States to remember our heritage, and to give Thanks for what we were given, and what we have.

Here in Honduras they don't really celebrate any of the above.  There is a small spattering of Halloween decorations around town.  I don't really know if it's for Nationals or for the gringos that live here.  I see the decorations in stores that mostly nationals go to, so my thought is the Halloween tradition is slowly coming into the culture?  And many people do celebrate Día de los muertos, although most don't refer to it in that way.  They go to the cemetaries, and place flowers there for members of their families that have died.  But it is NOT like how it is celebrated in Mexico and other latin-american countries.  It's honestly, a day mostly spent like any other.

So yesterday, I briefly talked about Halloween.  I talked about those who have died, and what Christ tells us about living in Him.  Then I had them make a craft.  What craft comes to your mind immediately that reflects Halloween or Harvest?  A pumpkin.  I knew it would be a LITTLE stretch - I didn't realize truly how BIG of a stretch it ended up being.  Immediately when I showed my example craft I got feedback.  Two kids yelled out "es del diablo!" (it's of the Devil).  Well - that did give me an opportunity to talk about that and affirm that in fact, a pumpkin is NOT of the devil.   ANYWAY - long story short - the kids all had a great time creating their pumpkins, and eventually of the 80 children there, all but about 10 threw them away so they wouldn't take them home to show their parents.  Course they didn't throw away their "trick or treat" bag full of candy that I gave each of them - and learn...the differences in cultures and things I won't be doing next year!

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