As soon as Nov. 1 rolls in, a strange phenomenon takes over our society and suddenly the fuzzy spiders and skeletons hanging off buildings disappear, the big bags of mini Snickers and Reese's cups emblazoned with jack-o-lanterns become half-priced, and the overall spooky vibes are replaced with a frightening atmosphere of merriment. Christmas heads bask in the glow of the first day of November as it signifies the start of the holiday season, with the Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey herself leading the charge. Who can blame her? Her earworm holiday smash "All I Want for Christmas Is You" keeps her swimming in more Hello Kitty memorabilia than probably even Sanrio.
However, the Santa lovers forget that this day also hosts an important celebration for Latinx people, who make up a large portion of the American population. Nov. 1 is Día de los Muertos, and really, can we just get one day to celebrate before it's all elves and Lifetime movies starring a blonde woman who's unlucky in love until she fucks a hot lawyer or whatever?
Día de los Muertos, observed in Mexico, Mexican communities across the world, and often in other Latin American cultures, is a celebration of the dead that commemorates the opening of the bridge to the afterlife, allowing the living to be visited by our loved ones who have died. The rituals involved with this sacred holiday include wearing traditional garb and ornate skull face paint, and building an ofrenda, or altar, to honor those who have died, decorating it with bright orange marigolds, the foods and treats enjoyed by those loved ones when they were living, photos, sugar skulls, and other keepsakes. The holiday goes back thousands of years, originated by Aztecs. Much like many of our indigenous rituals and belief systems, Spanish colonizer assholes tried to stamp it out, but the celebration survived. If you watched the Pixar film Coco, you probably learned a lot of this information while also crying your goddamn eyes out to the point of gasping for breath.
While Christmas is a very good holiday (one I certainly get deeply into), and I would never want to get in the way of Mariah Carey cashing a check or reveling in the holiday spirit, Día de los Muertos deserves some respect. Unlike Halloween, which is, indeed, over now, Día de los Muertos is currently happening and holds deep importance to the communities that celebrate it. As Rolling Stone music editor Suzy Exposito tweeted (which inspired this post), "I am frankly appalled by the Christmas lobby and their disrespect for Día de los Muertos. Y'all can wait one more day!!!!" Literally, it's one freaking day! One day that grants space to the millions of Mexicans and other Latinx people that currently live in the United States to uphold a vital tradition in our culture. This is a community that is currently facing extreme inhumane policies and racist rhetoric that puts their lives in extreme, immediate danger. With so many dying on our streets and on our borders, we need Día de los Muertos more than ever to heal and remember those we've lost. Just give us one day, and then we will gladly purchase food-shaped ornaments, blast "All I Want for Christmas Is You," and fuck a hot lawyer and discover the Christmas spirit was actually…love all along.