Fiction to Reality: Invented Traditions

Alejandro Alvarez
September 30th 2016

In Spectre, the last James Bond movie, we could see the Day of the Dead parade in Mexico city, a centenary tradition held every November in the capital of the country that celebrates death. Just a little note, the parade is as fictitious as agent 007.

It’s true that mexicans celebrate Day of the Dead dressing as skeletons and setting shrines to death, but the carnivalesque parade with giant puppets was a surprise to every local who watched the movie. Not anymore, if everything goes as planned, this year Mexico city will have its first parade to honor the dead, because as the minister of tourism put it: “We have to invent a Day of the Dead carnival because, after watching the James Bond movie the tourists will come looking for the parade and they won’t find it".

This is a clear case of fiction becoming culture, an invented tradition leaving the screen to become reality. As Eric Hobsbawm explains in his essay The Invention of Tradition: "Traditions wich appear or claim to be old are often quite recent in origin and sometimes invented". This phenomenon is not new, it has been widely researched by Hobsbawm and has been used in the past to create social cohesion, socialization and to inculcate beliefs. In this case the tradition that inspired the producers became fiction and then a reality that will satisfy the visitors next November.

Source: La Jornada. Image: Eon Productions

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