01 November 2008

Te Amo Rux

The first Halloween that I spent in Mexico was in 1999 in a small town in the state of Nuevo León. However, at that time there was no sign whatsoever of Halloween, not even a pumpkin. Gradually, thanks to things like cheap plastic from China and aggressive marketing by Walmart, Halloween has become a big deal. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. The Catholic Church in Mexico certainly frowns on Halloween and many people point to the fact that Halloween is usurping some of their traditions but as long as children think Halloween is fun I don't think that much can be done about it. I have mixed feelings about “Trick or Treat” myself. I am hoping that trick or treat doesn't evolve into some kind of “devil night” like it was in the United States in the 1920's and 30's and up to recent times in certain places (like the city of Detroit). The practice we see today, with children dressed in costume going house to house saying "Trick or Treat", did not really come about until the mid 1940's. My father told me that after he had come back from serving in the army overseas during World War II he was surprised by some kid in a mask knocking on the door and saying “Trick or Treat!”. He said that he had never heard of that before and didn't know what to make of it. I don't know who was startled more, my father, or the poor kid when my father shouted, “Get the hell out of here!”

We had two kinds of trick or treater's last night. One kind consisted of little kids who were dressed up in cute little costumes and escorted by their mothers and fathers and timidly accepted their treat with a shyly mumbled “gracias”. Then there was another kind that consisted of unruly and aggressive adolescents without costumes who acted like jerks and jostled each other to grab for whatever they could and then left without a word of thanks. The last two Halloweens were very nice but this year it seemed like things like civility might be starting to slide. We will just have to wait and see. In the meantime we had a nice party for some of the kids in Gina's family after taking them around to friends, neighbors, and relatives to do their trick or treating. When I was a kid in the 50's Halloween was a glorious time. We started trick or treating right after school and stopped when it got dark. Then we would all gather at my great aunt Flavia's house for a party. Every Halloween I think about it and wish that I could go back. Perhaps when I go to Heaven (Si Dios quiere...if God wishes) I will go up to the pearly gates and when Saint Peter answers my knock I just might uncontrollably blurt out “Trick or Treat”.

Here in Mexico, the kids don't say “Trick or Treat”. They say “Queremos Halloween” or “We want Halloween”. Another thing about Halloween in Mexico...the ghosts don't say “Boo!”. They say “¡Buu!”. It's the same pronunciation, but the spelling is different. Speaking of spelling, I saw a little drawing that Gina's eleven year old niece Fatima Paulina (Pau) made for her mother. You can see it below. It says “Te Amo Rux” or "I love you Ma". The word “rux” is a slang word for “ruca”. The word “ruco”, or “ruca” (depending on the gender) means “old and worn out”. It is sometimes used by young people to refer to their parents just like in English some kids refer to their parents as “my old man” or “my old lady”. In this case the letter “x” on the end shows that it is meant to be a term of endearment. I didn't know that. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't learn something new...even on Halloween.

5 comments:

glorv1 said...

And there isn't a day I don't learn something from you. People say that Halloween has taken away from Dia de Los Muertos, and I tend to agree.Children will always love this day and they should be taught about el Dia as well. Bob thank you so much for all your knowledgable posts. Stop by my blog. I posted my very first ofrenda. Take care

YayaOrchid said...

I agree with Gloria. You always share so much insightful info, it's always a pleasure visiting your blog!

ken kushnir said...

Nice memories Bob! I also would enjoy those times again. How it turned into a adolescent free for all, we will have to hire an anthropologist to find out. Sadly the real meaning has been lost or diverted and only a handful will probably carry out the real meaning.

Bob Cox said...

GIVE ME SOME CANDY OR I"LL SOAP YOUR WINDOWS DUDE !!!
It's all kind of pagan and now the commercialization is in Mexico... Great time of year for homemade day of the dead bread & candied potatoes...at least here in Tlaxcala.

Bob Mrotek said...

Gloria, Yaya, & Ken,

I have mixed feelings about Halloween and I also think that El Dia de los Muertos is slowly slipping away. I just try to follow what the scriptures tell us..."Test all things" and "Hold fast to that which is good".

Bob, you old rascal, please don't soap my windows. You can have all the candy that you want. By the way, my mother-in law Carmelita gave me some candied squash called "calabaza cubierta". I believe that the candied sweet potato is called "Camote cubierto".

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.