Nov 1, 2006

Trick or Treat vs Candles and Flowers

Last night, trick or treaters stopped by my house. Little kids dressed up as princesses, superheroes, and witches came with their little pumpkin candy baskets. I learned that kids are taught to only accept candies that are sealed, which is a good thing. Well, they would not be able to enjoy the salt water taffies I got from SFO.

I would hold a big basket of candy and tell kids to get as much as they want. Surprisingly, all of them, except for one kid, took just one candy each. Not that they didn't like the rest of the candies, they just feel that they should only take one. That is so surprising for me. Most kids in the Philippines, at least the ones in my neighborhood, would want more than one candy and would politely ask for 3 or 4 or 5 pieces of candy. It is just different.

In the Philippines, in the first two days of November, people would flock to the cemeteries to pay respects to their dead ancestors. Normally, the day would start with a mass and people would visit their relatives' graves and leave flowers and candles after saying prayers for them. As I got older, I learned that teenagers and party people stay in the cemetery at night and have parties. Of course, I never got to go.

There are also the stories of rice cakes so tough, they won't break even if they're thrown at a wall. Whatever that wall is is subject to debate. A traditional Filipino house, the Bahay Kubo, has woven bamboos for walls. More modern houses have concrete walls. Still, the legend of the tough rice cake remains. I think there was something like the harder it is, the longer it lasts without spoiling.

So here I am in the western world, where candles are not just one-peso stick candles, they are candles of every conceivable shape, color and scent. Flowers here are very beautiful and expensive, unlike the cheap(money-wise, but definitely not tacky), oftentimes free tropical flowers I was so used to. One can get instant rice cakes from the grocery store, and unless you botch them on purpose, they won't be hard enough to stand impact with any walls. Things are so beautiful here. Yet things are so beautiful there, too. It would be nice to put both worlds together.

I wonder how my family would react if I showed up in a really crazy Halloween costume during All Saints Day mass at my conservative (and I mean conservative!!!) clan's mausoleum?

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