Human Interest

Halloween now rooted on northern Mexico border with Day of the Dead

By Manuel Ayala

Tijuana, Mexico, Nov 1 (EFE).- In the northwestern Mexican border city of Tijuana, the celebration of Halloween is becoming more deeply rooted among the public alongside the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead.

Hundreds of people at this time of year parade along the city’s historic and iconic Revolucion Avenue wearing costumes, most of them alluding to US horror films.

Families, young people and kids who gather during the evening, but also in the daylight hours, say that the establishment of Halloween as part of the local culture is due mainly to the fact that it’s a tradition that, for many, has been inculcated in early childhood.

Sandra, a Tijuana native, has been celebrating Halloween since she was a little girl and said that it’s even celebrated in her hometown more than the Day of the Dead, which is held on Nov. 1-2.

“Perhaps due to the nearness of the US and because there are not so many people from southern (Mexico) who bring the tradition of the (Day of the Dead) altars (paying tribute to deceased loved ones),” she suggested as the reasons why Halloween is becoming so well established.

Lorena Silva said that although she was not born in Tijuana, since she was little she has been coming to the city with her family and for the past 25 years she’s been celebrating Halloween.

“I love it. It’s a US tradition, but we Tijuanans do it here. Why not? Besides it’s a fun day,” she said.

Regarding the Day of the Dead tradition, she said that it’s “something mixed” and that “neither (celebration) takes away anything from the other; they can both be celebrated and nothing (bad) happens.”

Authorities tasked with protecting the public told EFE that, without any doubt, they perceive a clear cross-border influence in the cultural exchange that’s being created in the region.

They emphasized that in the past it was very common to see people from the US visiting Tijuana to dress up for the celebration because the way in which it’s celebrated here “is very similar to how it’s done in the neighboring country.”

Claudia, who’s also Tijuana-born, said that since she was small she’s been celebrating Halloween, adding that it’s something for which she prepares in detail regarding the costume she’s going to wear, saying that she’s been doing so “for my whole life, since I was small.”

“Definitely, Halloween means more to me (than the Day of the Dead), since we decorate the house, we pass out candies, we dress our children up, on the weekend we go out to enjoy the parties and then we go trick or treating,” she said.

The tradition is of such importance for her, she said, that every year she takes care not to wear a different costume.

Compared with the people who live in central and southern Mexico, “when you live on the border you have many of those characteristics that are shared. And that’s being handed down,” she said.

EFE ma/ppc/szg/bp

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