Sunday, November 15, 2009

¿Me da mi calaverita?

Halloween has come and gone, and so has El Día de los Muertos.

While you may be tempted to think Día de los Muertos is Halloween, you'd be wrong.   They're celebrated at pretty much the exact same time, but they are very distinct events.

I'm not going to attempt to explain this celebration to you, but instead point you to this awesome video that sums it up quite nicely.  Way better than I ever could.

If you can't see the video, here's the link:

There's one image that has become the bona fide symbol of the Day of the Dead.

She's La Catrina, and her image is unavoidable during Halloween and Día de los Muertos.

If you want to know where the image of La Catrina came from and what she represents, then check out this 45 second video.  You'll have to read a little Spanish, but it's not that hard and will help you put that Spanish you're working so hard to perfect to use.

At this point you should  at least have a vague idea of what Día de los Muertos is all about, which means we can move on to talking about Halloween.

Yes, many Mexicans celebrate Halloween as well, so let's talk about some of the Spanish you'll need to trick or treat like a true Mexican.

The actual act of trick or treating is called pedir calaverita.

Some examples...

Tus hijos van a pedir calavarita?
Are your kids going to go trick or treating?

Fuiste a pedir calavarita con tus hijos?
Did you go trick or treating with your kids?

And if you're the one doing the trick or treating, you can say:

¿Me da mi calaverita?
Trick or treat

Ok, that so that last one is far from an exact translation, but that's how you ask for you share of the Halloween candy. 

I made another post last year about Halloween in México, Dulce or Traversura, which you may want to read. There's also a great post in WordReference that discusses Halloween, you can read it here. It's a mix of English and Spanish, so you can get in some great reading practice as well.

Next we need to talk about calaveras.

The word calavera actually has several meanings - skull, and colloquially also means skeleton. The official word for skeleton is esqueleto.

And since we're on the subject of calaveras, or calaveritas, I will point out that as a part of El Día de los Muertos, they sell calaveras de dulce - candy skulls. Here are a few photos:

The chocolate ones really look delicious if you ask me.

I said calaveras has multiple meanings.

Well, here's another one: a funny or sarcastic phrase or poem about the dead (muertos).  Technically they're called calaveras literarias.

The first one reads:  Here rests my dear wife Brujilda Jalamonte, "Lord, receive her with the same joy that I'm sending her to you with.

And the second:  Here rests Pancrazio Juvenales, Good husband, good father, bad home electrician.

Aqui yace mi mujer, fria...como siempre.
Here lies my wife, cold like always.

I was actually in Mexico one year for El Día de los Muertos, but I was pretty much ignorant to the celebration and missed an opportunity for a great cultural experience. Oh well, maybe next year.

I hope you've enjoyed this, as personally I love learning about the culture of México as much as I do the Spanish language.

¡Hasta Luego!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all of the great links, Rodney. Every year more and more children come to our door for trick or treat. Most of them ring the bell and when we open the door they shout in unison, "¡Queremos Halloween!" over and over :)