Disney pulls attempt to trademark ‘Day of the Dead’

Catrinas, such as the above, are among the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico (Tomascastelazo).


CBS reports that Disney Enterprises decided against its plan to trademark the term “the Day of the Dead.”

May 9, 2013

When Lalo Alcaraz saw a tweet this week that Disney was seeking to trademark “Dia de los Muertos,” the name of the traditional “Day of the Dead” celebrated by millions in Mexico and the U.S., the Los Angeles-based cartoonist immediately pressed “retweet.”…

Those tweets, along with tens of thousands of others similar social media posts, sparked Disney Enterprises Inc. into announcing that the company was withdrawing a “Dia de los Muertos” trademark request it made on May 1 to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Disney had hoped to secure name rights for merchandise such as snack foods and Christmas ornaments as it partners with Pixar Animation Studios Inc. to create an animated movie inspired by the holiday…

Critics charged that Disney, or any other corporation, for that matter, had no right to trademark a cultural holiday like November’s Day of the Dead.  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57583737/social-media-credited-for-dooming-disneys-day-of-the-dead-trademark-bid/

Now, I agree that it is not appropriate for a private company to be able to trademark a holiday.

Now in this case, is this a biblical holiday?

The Day of the Dead is of pagan origin. The Burke Museum of Natural History notes:

“The Mexican Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival combines ancient Mesoamerican and Christian beliefs. The Aztecs believed that the souls of the dead traveled to Mictlan, where they found rest. Several Aztec festivals merged with the Christian All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days to become the Day of the Dead. El Día de los Muertos begins on October 31, All Hallows’ Eve. Families clean and decorate their relatives’ graves and eat picnic meals in the graveyard. They sing songs and reminisce about the deceased. Los Angelitos (“little angels”) return on this day. On November 1, All Saints’ Day, adult spirits return, drawn by the ofrendas (altars with offerings), which serve as thresholds between this world and the next. http://www.burkemuseum.org/static/RR/DOFD/dofd2.htm

Regarding the Day of the Dead, Wikipedia reports:

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1 and 2, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world: In Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and, at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.

Here is another report about the Day of the Dead/Dia de Los Muertos:

“Dia de Los Muertos has its roots in Aztec tradition and is celebrated like a holiday in Mexico. NoMar is celebrating the event early, the actual holiday is November 1st and 2nd. According to legend, the spirits of the dead meet with the living as heaven’s gates open on October 31.” http://www.kwch.com/news/kwch-rew-what-is-the-day-of-the-dead-dia-de-los-muertos-20111028,0,988587.story

Some seem feel that combining pagan practices are fine, as the following also shows:

All Saints Day comes to Silicon Valley — Filipino style

The Filipino graveside tradition resembles the Mexican “El Dia de los Muertos,” or Day of the Dead, which also coincides with All Saints Day. While the Mexican tradition has migrated to America mainly in the form of home and community altars, one local cemetery last year resurrected the graveyard tradition as it has been celebrated in Mexico for centuries.

Last year, Calvary Catholic Cemetery in East San Jose and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley invited families to decorate the graves of loved ones with candy skulls, photographs, ribbons and favorite food items of the deceased.

More than 500 people attended last year’s inaugural event, according to Calvary spokeswoman Nicole Lecheler. This year’s celebration on Oct. 29 will include Aztec dancers, skull-decorating workshops, food booths and Day of the Dead altar displays by artists, students and local community groups. http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_19217399

Again, these are not biblical practices. And having Aztec skull dancers should be an obvious clue to any who does not believe that they should compromise the faith of the Bible with paganism.

The dead, of course, will be resurrected, and that is the day that the dead will be revived–and modified Aztec practices will not change that.

The Bible Lists God Holy Days and Warns About Pagan Practices

In Leviticus chapter 23, it lists:

“The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (vs.2).

All Saints’ Day or the Day of the Dead is not listed as one of them. Neither are biblically enjoined feasts day for Christians (there is not any hint of either in the Bible; they may even be warned against in Deuteronomy 4:15-24). Actually the Bible warns against worshipping God the way the pagans, etc. did (Leviticus 18:3; Deuteronomy 12:31, Jeremiah 10:2-3).

And it specifically warns against creating images such as those used in the Day of the Dead:

15 Keep therefore your souls carefully. You saw not any similitude in the day that the Lord God spoke to you in Horeb from the midst of the fire: 16 Lest perhaps being deceived you might make you a graven similitude, or image of male or female (Deuteronomy 4:15-16, Douay OT).

Note: I intentionally used the Douay OT translation above as it is an official Catholic-accepted translation to point out that Catholics are violating their own Bible when they are involved with images.

The Bible repeatedly warns against the practices of witches (Exodus 22:18; Deuteronomy 18:10, Galatians 5:20) and dealing with ghosts/etc. (Deuteronomy 18:11, I Chronicles 10:13).

Christians who wish to remain faithful to the original apostolic faith will not observe the Day of the Dead.

Christians who wish to remain faithful to the original apostolic faith will not observe the Day of the Dead.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

All Saints Day and the Day of the Dead When did “All Saints Day” and the “Day of the Dead” begin?
Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? This article provides some historical and biblical insight on this question.
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism?
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection? Is there more than one future resurrection? Did early Christians teach a physical resurrection? Did early Christians teach three resurrections?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day–is it a dead of the dead? What do these days teach?
Are The Wicked Tormented Forever or Burned Up? How does one explain Revelation 14:11 in light of Malachi 4:3? What happens to the incorrigibly wicked?
Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die? When did Limbo start being taught? What is the truth about dead babies?
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? What about the use of the cross, by the early Church?
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account?

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