I had an interesting class trying to explain Halloween to the kids. AND I have something nice to say about America finally, I promise.
The kids at school had music-themed pumpkins to carve for art class. I was SO impressed with these until I read that one of the amazing ones was done by a 1st grader. That's when a teacher explained that this was a family homework assignment. I've never heard of such a thing! In America I'm pretty sure you "do it yourself" in theory but actually have your parents do it for you lol. Here they encourage the whole family to participate, which doesn't surprise me. Family truly is the fabric of this culture. They don't talk about family values in Spain cuz it's just understood. They don't feel the need to boast about how important family is cuz they don't work insane hours like Americans do (in general) and they get to spend 4-6 weeks a year with them in the summer (not two like good jobs in America). Time with family is built into this culture and I could talk about this for hours but I won't. It's what I love about Spain. Anywho, once they told me parents helped with these pumpkins, it all made sense. How would an 8 year old ever think to do Elvis or KISS lol?
Also, as much as I loved these pumpkins, I really don't like seeing Halloween being an increasingly popular part of Spanish culture. This isn't really a holiday for them. Never was. From what I've been told, most of this pumpkin and candy crap is straight from the constant dumping of American culture abroad via tv and movies. Here They celebrate the day of the dead cuz galica is a actually deeply rooted in Celtic culture. Like, they have some serious ties to Ireland y'all. They celebrate their Galician holiday on November 1st (and I even get a paid this day off work on Wedneday!) but October 31st meant nothing to them until American tv penetrated their living rooms. The holiday loses its meaning when it becomes about candy and competitivene costumes that have nothing to do with scaring spirits and shit.
Now that I've talks some more mad shit about America, I'm gonna say some nice stuff. Today I showed the kids a slideshow of funny American costumes and they totally lost their shit. They couldn't believe people come up with this stuff and even dress their dogs up too. They were rolling on the floor. It made me miss Halloween a little.
One reason why I leave America a lot is cuz I get sick of all the capitalist/consumer obsessed bullshit in all its many forms. But another reason why I leave a lot is because it makes me value American culture too. I appreciate some parts way more when I have distance from them and see them through foreign eyes. And let me tell ya, if there's one thing today's slide show forced me to see, it's that Americans are fucking nuts. Like, in a good way. The shit we come up with cracks me up. Not just the costumes and weird traditions like hay rides and apple bobbing and corn mazes (try explaining those to anyone abroad), but the crap people put in their yards on Halloween is just hysterical. Soooo over the top! Like we are a super eccentric group of folks, y'all. I've always thought that, but seeing the kids' reactions to my slides made me realize just how much so. When they'd look at the screen then over at me with their eyes bugging out and their mouths gaping open, I kept saying "I know, soooo random!" or "yeah, we're kinda weird I guess!" It made me very proud to be an America today.
But then I had to explain why we theaten complete strangers by knocking on their doors and demanding they give us candy and I really couldn't figure out why we do this or how it came about. Shit's weird, y'all. It's like extortion or something. They asked what kind of pranks people play on Halloween and I mentioned rolling. That was hard to explain. I also mentioned smashing of pumpkins and mailboxes. I left out egging cars and burning bags of shit and putting maxi pads all over someone's house like some jerks did to my friend's house back in the day. They asked if I had ever been rolled. I forgot until today that I had. Big time. By my closest guy friends as a teen. You know who you are! What dicks. That shit took forever to get out of our trees. I digress. Anywho, I also realized Americans are really mean to each other and that kinda made me not so proud. A complicated nation we are!
By the way, I asked if they trick or treat here. Not really. Some kids do, like the girl I tutor, but she says they spend half the night explaining what the fuck that means to people who open their door and most don't have any candy. Of course, she wouldn't eat it anyways cuz of the palm oil. She just goes for the fun of it.
(Not sure is this is racist or not)
(This one was super lazy)