¿Me da mi calaverita?

calaveritas(Mex) En México, la muerte no es una calavera sombría de toga negra que blande una hoz, sino una dama ostentosa y engreída que se pavonea entre los vivos con extravagantes vestidos y sombreros, toda ella cubierta de flores y sarcasmo, invitando a los de éste lado a seguirla, seducidos, por esa ola multicolor con flores de cempazuchitl –la flor del inframundo-, calaveritas de azúcar y pan dulce con forma de huesos, como diciendo que la vida no es tan dulce como la muerte.

Dentro de ese ambiente de fiesta, en los primeros días de noviembrem  se funde también el cariño, el respeto y la convivencia porque el día de muertos es, además de celebración, ritual familiar a través del acto en conjunto de montar los altares, preparar la comida favorita del difunto, colocar el agua y prender las velas -que son las señales de vida- que guiarán a las almas desde el otro lado a esa reunión con sus seres amados, a esa comunión  con la vida desde la muerte que recibe a los espíritus entre papel de colores, copal y recuerdos.

El día de muertos es una fiesta colectiva, de pueblo, de celebración en el cementerio local que, a media noche, se prende con miles de velas para recibir a los difuntos mientras los habitantes cenan con sus muertos en las tumbas; mientras los vivos se comen a la muerte en pan con chocolate caliente.

Así, la fiesta es determinada por imágenes sarcásticas pero familiares, casi entrañables, de la muerte que reafirman, al mismo tiempo, imágenes de identidad nacional a través de la fusión del rito mortuorio prehispánico con las fiestas católicas herencia de la colonia, siempre mirando la unificación y el homenaje de la calavera, la Catrina, la calaca: imagen central del día de muertos.

      Sin embargo, el proceso de modernización de México – ocurrido a mediados del siglo XX- que conllevó la introducción de la radio y, posteriormente, de la televisión, el cinematógrafo y de los usos norteamericanos tan en boga después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial –el American way of life– suscitó no sólo la introducción de artículos de consumo estadounidenses, sino la introducción de usos culturales que afectaron –o modificaron- los existentes en México o, por lo menos -de manera casi inmediata- de la capital. Entonces, en contraste con la festividad de día de muertos, muy pronto el Halloween y sus calabazas empezaron a colarse entre las calacas de azúcar.

El Halloween tiene origen en la festividad celta del Samhain y la festividad cristiana del Día de todos los santos. Los antiguos celtas creían que la línea que une la vida con el otro Mundo se estrechaba con la llegada del Samhain, permitiendo a los espíritus (tanto benévolos como malévolos) pasar a través y llegar al nuestro.

Los ancestros familiares eran invitados y homenajeados mientras que los espíritus dañinos eran alejados, de ahí el uso de trajes, máscaras y fogatas especiales como la Jack O’Lantern, calabaza perforada con forma de rostros y con una vela dentro o el Trick or Treath, derivados ambas costumbres de viejas leyendas celtas.

La celebración de Halloween llegó a Estados Unidos en 1840 después de una gran ola migratoria desde Irlanda. Sin embargo, la fiesta no comenzó a celebrarse masivamente hasta 1921, año en que se realizó el primer desfile de Halloween en Minnesota.

La fiesta adquirió una progresiva popularidad en las siguientes décadas hasta su internacionalización definitiva a finales de los años 70 y principios de los 80 gracias al cine y a las series de televisión además del enorme  despliegue comercial y a la publicidad engendrada entorno a, una vez más, las imágenes del Halloween que perdió –en Estados Unidos- la fuerza y sentido de su origen celta para enfocarse al sentido de horror, violencia y monstruosidad.

Progresivamente, el 1 y 2 de noviembre fue mostrando una combinación cultural entre ambas festividades desde los medios y las costumbres: se encuentran en los tianguis , junto a las calaveras de dulce, las flores de cempazuchitl, el pan de muerto y el papel picado a las calabazas anaranjadas, los maquillajes sanguinolentos, los disfraces mal hechos y el uso del sentido del terror tan característico de la cinematografía del género, pero tan opuesta a la naturaleza del día de muertos mexicano.

Hasta las expresiones, influencia del Halloween, se han transformado: la vieja expresión ¿me da para mi calaverita? se usaba para pedir una limosna específica con el fin de comprar las velas para la ofrenda, pero ante la influencia del Treath or Trick, la expresión cambió de uso a los niños que salen disfrazados a pedir dulces en las calles.

Actualmente, y consecuencia a esa convivencia de imágenes contrastantes, existe un debate –casi contienda- cultural entre ambas celebraciones que enfrenta un posible  problema a futuro en lo que respecta a las imágenes y a las concepciones culturales de las fiestas en cuestión: la posible desaparición de las festividades del día de muertos por el Halloween o la sincretización de ambas festividades en las generaciones futuras hasta la deformación de la fiesta original.

Entonces basta con ver la realidad para descubrir que los procesos culturales no son –ni pueden ser- tan tajantes: a la llegada de noviembre tanta fuerza tienen las imágenes terroríficas como las tradicionales; en los hogares, se monta la ofrenda y se disfrazan los niños; en el centro capitalino hay pan de muerto y adornos de calabazas. Los medios difunden la tradición de la ofrenda y se organizan fiestas de Halloween.

Se observa, cada temporada, que ambas festividades conviven –y se integran- en relación a la sociedad a la que pertenecen. Aquí la cuestión es, ¿podemos hablar de la posibilidad de extinción de una tradición que, a pesar de las influencias extranjeras, sigue manteniéndose firme e inclusive pura en poblados y regiones indígenas o no céntricas?

Nuestra actualidad de imágenes es ya ambigua, calidoscópica. La cultura no es –ni puede ser- unívoca porque la realidad misma no lo es. En todo caso, la tarea ante tradiciones foráneas que amenacen a las nacionales no debe seguir el ataque –inútil- de aquellas, sino la preservación de las últimas a través de la transmisión, la valoración y la difusión. Pero sobre todo, entender que los contactos culturales pueden renovar o enriquecer tradiciones siempre y cuando no se pierda de vista el objetivo principal.

AM

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