In Gloria Naylor's Mama Day, what is "candle walk?"

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Gloria Naylor's Mama Day is a 1988 novel about the connection between past and present. History, family, culture, and friendship are all important themes in the book.

In the novel, the people of Willow Springs participate in a ritual called Candle Walk. Every December 22nd, the people of the town walk the streets, carrying a light, and exchange gifts. In early times, the lights were candles and the gifts were homemade and intimate; in modern times, the candles have given way to lanterns, and the gifts are purchased and measured by their expense. Here, connection between the ritual of the parents and the new ritual of their children -- some of who are upset that there is no proper Christmas, but the Candle Walk instead -- is slowly eroded by the modernization of both times and people. Instead of being about community and connecting with others, Candle Walk is slowly turning into a market-based consumer holiday tradition, as some of the townsfolk see modern Christmas. In time, the ritual will die out, and not even be remembered.


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