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The Mexican Day of the Dead and Celtic Halloween on the Borderlands

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Abstract

This chapter tracks how Halloween and Day of the Dead have increasingly entangled across the US/Mexican Borderlands throughout the 2010s. It then reviews the scholarly disputes over whether these two holidays enjoy genuinely pre-colonial indigenous origins or strictly Medieval European ones; yet though the two camps may disagree vociferously, they nevertheless both still conclude that these holidays engage in anti-colonial resistances, since they belie the erasure of native peoples. Then, by means of Octavio Paz’s The Labyrinth of Solitude, this discussion pivots to an examination of how the dead resist colonialism in literature; of necessity, this argument also draws upon (and critiques) Bakhtin’s theory of the Carnivalesque as it can be applied to both holidays.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-50939-2_2
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Notes

  1. 1.

    “Para el habitante de Nueva York, París o Londres, la muerte es la palabra que jamás se pronuncia porque quema los labios. El mexicano, en cambio, la frecuenta, la burla, la acaricia, duerme con ella, la festeja, es uno de sus juguetes favoritos y su amor más permanente. Cierto, en su actitud hay quizá tanto miedo como en la de los otros; más al menos no se esconde ni la esconde; la contempla cara a cara con impaciencia, desdén o ironía.” (22) Translation by Lysander Kemp, Yara Milos, and Rachel Phillips Belash.

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Correspondence to Jacob L. Bender .

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Bender, J.L. (2020). The Mexican Day of the Dead and Celtic Halloween on the Borderlands. In: Modern Death in Irish and Latin American Literature. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-50939-2_2

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