A Celebration Honoring the Day of the Dead Filled The Mission Streets in San Francisco

Participant of the Day of the Dead procession dressed as Catrina. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)

By Karem Rodriguez
krodri27@mail.ccsf.edu

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.

Participant of the Day of the Dead procession dressed as Catrina. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)

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.

Ralph from San Francisco, poses with a skeleton costume during the Day of the Dead celebration. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)

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.

Karem Ramirez dresses as Catrina to celebrate the Day of the Dead at Potrero del Sol park. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)
Altar set up by Galeria de la Garza at the Festival of Altars. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)
Nancy, dressed as Catrina, shows the photos of her loved ones who have passed away. “This is my portable altar” said Nancy. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)
Cynthia from Brazil, right, and her friends dress as Catrinas during the Day of the Dead celebration at Potrero del Sol Park. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)
David from San Francisco, dresses as a mariachi skull during the Day of the Dead celebration at Potrero del Sol Park. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman).
An altar is shown at Brava Theater Center as part of the Dia de los Muertos: Una Ofrenda at the Crossroads event. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)
Dancers lead the Dia de los Muertos procession in the Mission District. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)
Organizers hold a banner during the Dia de los Muertos procession in the Mission District. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)
Participants of the Day of the Dead procession dress as Catrina and Catrin. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)
Musicians of Maracatu Pacifico joined the Day of the Dead procession in the Mission District. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)
Altar to remember the lost loved ones from the Mission District. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)
Visitors to the Festival of Altars write messages to their loved ones who have passed away. San Francisco’s Potrero del Sol Park. November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)
Musicians play music at San Francisco’s Potrero del Sol Park during the Festival of Altars and the celebration of Day of the Dead. San Francisco, November 2, 2022 (Karem Rodriguez / The Guardsman)