By Mary Khon
Happy Holidays, Queeridos!
How are your festivities going and shaping up so far? By festivities I mean, Halloween, Día de los Muertos, Thanksgiving, and we’re coming up to December 12, las posadas, Christmas, and New Year. That is a lot of celebrating to do in just the span of 60 days.
When I was younger, I looked forward to all these festivities but now, I try to avoid them as much as possible. I just don’t enjoy them as much. One reason: I’m old; the other: I am too self-conscious about other things that are affected or not affected by these celebrations.
I am a person who enjoys children from far away. This means giving candy out to children or walking around the neighborhood asking for candy is out of the question. I still dress up for Halloween but only because the boss buys us lunch.
Día de los Muertos is a celebration I looked forward every year, but every year I am disappointed that I am not in México enjoying the Día de los Muertos parade, or attending La Catrina Festival, or being part of El Festival de la Calavera. So, I settled for a fusion of Mexican and American celebrations that seem more commercial than anything else.
Lately, Thanksgiving has become a difficult holiday to celebrate, mainly because I have friends who are artists/activists and they have made me aware of the inequalities found on such celebration. In fact they call Thanksgiving “Thanks-taking.” That in itself has lot of traumatic implications so I don’t feel as festive during this day/weekend as I used. And don’t get me started on the famous “Black Friday” crap. That event has really turned people into soulless creatures and the capitalists into rich men, mainly because for profit companies prey on the poor. Today, the only thing I look forward to during “Thanks-taking” is the new films and the holiday theatre productions starting around this weekend.
Along with “Thanks-taking” comes the issue of December 12. If you happen to be Mexican and Catholic (and my entire family is), this holiday is religiously celebrated. But then, the person in me who has been aware of the oppression and colonization of our people comes out and refuses to participate in such event that, from my point of view, continues to keep people blind to the reality of our existence. I won’t say more.
After December 12, comes a period of time that most Mexicans enjoy: Las Posadas. However, living in this country has truly created a disappointment on the celebrations. Living in America has made many brown people stop practicing some of their traditions from back home. And if such events take place, at least in my experience, these celebrations are more of a religious event than a merriment filled with songs, dancing, food, and piñatas, lots and lots of piñatas, which, by the way, is the only time when piñatas should be used—but that’s another story.
Then comes December 24; I mean December 25. No, sorry, December 24. See, I haven’t even started talking about Christmas and I’m already having a crisis. Back in the homeland and as part of our cultural/religious celebrations, the biggest day during Christmas time is December 24, NOT December 25. We celebrate on December 24 with live music, dancing, eating, drinking, and being noisy all night. A few minutes to midnight, some short religious shenanigans would happen to recreate the birth of Jesus, and then, the official midnight dinner, then more dancing, more drinking, and more eating until four or five in the morning. Once we arrived to this country all that stopped. And even though we still make an attempt to celebrate, it is more of a get-together/soft music/very little dancing event. We all still stay up but most of the time until midnight or an hour pass; we pad each other on the back with a “Feliz Navidad” wish and off to bed we go. Now, December 25 is the big day, where the presents are open, the dinner is done, and the families come together. And the process to the festive hours is very stressful. In short, our celebration has become, like the song says, a “White Christmas.”
When it comes to New Year, well, when I was young, I partied all night long. Now, I shock myself if I ever make it to 1AM. This one, it is all about me being older and not wanting to stay up at all…. Because age. It doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate; I do, but I also consider sleeping and resting more important than partying. Because of age. Because I’m old. Because I like it like that.
Happy Holidays, Queeridos! Whatever you do, stay safe!