Given the previous posts on Halloween, Rogers’ observations about the crossover between Halloween and the Mexican Day of the Dead are particularly poignant. He notes that the first day of the Day of the Dead, ‘Halloween in North America, is devoted to los angelitos (little angels), for whom there is a night vigil and a blessing the following morning.’*
In Texas and North Carolina, even some mainstream Protestant denominations have adopted this liturgical calendar to commemorate and pray for the dead. In a North American culture that too often tries to hide and sanitize death, the conventions of the Day of the Dead seem a healthy antidote. One correspondent writing in the New York Times in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack upon the World Trade Centre urged readers to transform the opening Halloween into a day of remembrance similar to that of the Day of the Dead. Halloween “need not be a day of satire and horror,” she observed, “but can instead be a chance to linger with those we miss while the veil between the worlds is so thin.” She said she would put our flowers and candles at a small altar in memory of her father and sister who died years ago, as well as photographs of the twin towers.*** Nicholas Rogers, Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 149.
** ibid. 155.