Maria Lotero Jerez is a Colombian student studying hospitality and tourism at Whatcom Community College through the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) program. An important part of learning about a culture is experiencing holiday traditions and celebrating with friends and family. Maria reflects on the similarities and differences between Halloween in her country and the United States.
A few days ago on October 31st, I got to celebrate Halloween here and it is similar, but not exactly the same in my country. In Colombia, I go out with some friends usually after 7pm and we go trick-or-treating but not to individual houses. We go to local, small, family-owned stores around the neighborhood and we sing this song:
“Quiero paz, quiero amor, dame un dulce por favor.”
“I want peace, I want love, Give me a candy, please.”
After we sing this song we receive a candy and we put it in a plastic pumpkin that each person carries. Colombians wear the same costumes as American people and that includes Hollywood stars, super heroes, princesses, kings, animals or any kind of crazy costumes. I always go downtown in Bogota and have fun looking at all the different people with their costumes. On the other hand, here in the United States it was a new experience for me because I participated in some things that I have never seen in my country. For example, people decorated their houses, the streets, the stores and many other places. Also here they do some activities like pumpkin carving or have Halloween dances.
With this experience I learned that this holiday seems to be more important for American people than Colombian people and that’s why I was in the spirit of this holiday. I took a lot of pictures, I decorated my apartment with some pumpkins and I enjoyed it so much with my new friends. I was happy to learn more about American culture and I hope to be involved with more traditional holidays coming up.