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Halloween in Brazil

Brazilians never celebrated anything on October 31, but little by little, they are jumping on the bandwagon. Halloween is a non-religious autumn celebration with pumpkins and witches, and it has started to share space with the Brazilian springtime spiritual rituals, dia de Todos os Santos and Finados. Both holidays are serious catholic holidays with candles, crying and emotion. Halloween, on the other hand, replaces these with feasting and pranks.

Brazilians are natural partiers, but the catholic traditions always kept Brazilians from celebrating the arrival of November with the same happiness enjoyed in Carnival times. Mexican tradition allows for this type of carrying on, since they have made Dia de los Muertos (Finados) their most celebrated holiday. Watching them mix the macabre with a carnival feeling is awe-inspiring. Their Mayan and Aztec roots give way to an incredible comfort level with death, allowing them to enjoy eating foods in the shape of skulls. Every November 2nd, Mexicans creep tourists out by their displays of skeletons and death. In the interior of Mexico, there is still the belief that celebrating the dead will bring rain, better crops and increased fertility, and of course, good luck.

With such tradition, Mexicans should really downplay Halloween, since they also have pranks associated with their Day of the Dead festival, when young adults steal fruit, flowers and corn on the evening of November 1st, honoring all the saints. Witches on broomsticks don‘t mean anything in Mexico. They didn‘t mean anything here, either, except in Maranhão, where for some odd reason some celebrate "Nossa Senhora da Vassoura", who wipes the bad away with a broom. Well, the rest of Brazil is accepting the traditions of All Hallow's Eve, on the night before November 1st, October 31st.

2,500 years ago, the Celts who lived in Ireland and the British Isles celebrated the end of summer. They had a type of fire festival, lighting fires at the tops of mountains to dispel the evil spirits.

They believed that on that date, the dead revisited their old homes as a horde of ghosts, witches, gnomes and other supernatural beings. To confuse them, the Celts went out at night carrying turnips sculpted with human faces with a candle lit inside called a jack-o'-lantern.

Halloween was brought to America by Irish and Scottish immigrants. The turnip was exchanged for the pumpkin, which didn‘t exist in Europe. As time went by, Halloween lost its religious roots and became a childish celebration. There is a sect of people who still take Halloween seriously, who call themselves Neopagan, and fundamental Christians are against this holiday.

One group of fascists who are against this party are called the Satanic Panic-ers, who distribute pamphlets and have a comic book called Spellbound. In it, Halloween is described as a satanic ritual where children eat poisonous candies and are kidnapped and sacrificed so that their fat can be used to make the candles that go in the jack-o'-lantern, and so on.

Not even the Celts had devils or deities connected to death in their beliefs. There is no proof that the Celts harmed or killed people other than those who committed crimes and sometimes prisoners of war. Sacrifices, inquisitions and pogroms were, as the Vatican itself shamefully admits, Christian inventions. Another fallacy: the Celts never saw a pumpkin, and they knew that human fat is not a good ingredient to make candles.

Halloween doesn‘t harm anyone. Unicef has been collecting funds for its programs to help children worldwide on Halloween. Each year, hundreds of Neopagans get together on Halloween, dress in green, and meet to donate blood and food to the needy. They also clean parks and take flowers to hospitals and old-folks homes. Why don‘t we join in and celebrate Halloween and this type of witchcraft?

The above text is a rough translation of an article by SÉRGIO AUGUSTO


Brazilians do not go trick-or-treating the conventional way (they celebrate buffet-infantil style), but some have started to do so in their apartment buildings and complexes. A friend of mine sent her children out trick-or-treating without notice, and she came back with very interesting loot (whatever the resident could come up with...) If you are interested in trick-or-treating in your building, I recommend you talk to the sindico and get permission to advertise the event, asking those who want to participate to hang something on their door. Choose an early time for young trick-or-treaters and a later time for the older ones! Believe me, the Brazilians will join in on the fun.

Postscript by Monica Trentini



Celebrate Halloween at home or at school with a festive Halloween Pizza cookie, or give your friends big cookies decorated with candy corn! Share the Halloween spirit at work, too! Call Monica at (55 11) 3739-2599 or 8111-5920 or write to cookiedoughtogo@yahoo.com Stateside orders accepted.

10/27/2003


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