On November 2nd, the official date for “El dia de los muertos” (The Day of the Dead), San Francisco celebrated the Latin American tradition with a festival of altars, performances, and a procession that filled The Mission district with colors and music. It’s the first time in three years, since 2019 that thousands of people gathered to honor and remember those who have passed away.
San Francisco celebrated this day with a Festival of the Altars and a colorful community procession. The Marigold Project, the organizers of the event, welcomed everyone to set up their offerings or altars in the early afternoon at Potrero del Sol Park. There were different kinds of altars displaying mementos, photographs, and sometimes meals or drinks to welcome the spirits of the dead. The marigold flowers were present everywhere because it’s the flower that represents the sun that lights the paths for the spirits of the people being honored. There was also a Ritual Circle Ceremony at the park which included music, dancers, and poetry. Organizers of the event create this ceremony to hold space for healing, honoring, and reflecting on the ancestral roots in the community.
This was the 41st annual procession of the Day of the Dead, and as always everyone was welcome to participate. It started on Bryant street moving towards 24th street and included dancers, musicians, and people dressed up in skeleton costumes known as Catrin or Catrina. The procession has been organized by The Cultural Rescue Collective or El Colectivo del Rescate Cultural since the beginning, this year they carried a banner with the phrase “Our dead are not sold” (our deads are not for sale) in response to the high commercialization that the tradition has received in many places, and as a way of reclaiming its origins and purpose: to respect, celebrate and honor the life of those who have died.