Saturday, November 6, 2010

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS in SAN FRANCISCO: diversity in attendance

Attended the Dia de los Muertos procession in San Francisco. Those in attendance were every slice of San Francisco within our 49 square miles: latino families, walking with photos of loved ones who had passed on; non-latinos, also walking with photos of loved ones.  Hipsters walked the streets, out for a good time or out to participate in the remembrance of loved ones. Burning Man types - The Burners were in attendance with the group Apocalypse cycling their stage coach contraption through the procession. I saw the most beautiful array of Calavera face painting I had ever seen. Artistic masterpieces were being worn by participants in the procession. Lots of Catrinas in vintage dress and lots of top hats with no preference for gender in either of the two styles. The only group I objected to were the drunken types who treated Dia de los Muertos as any other parade or holiday. Walking the streets of the Mission with drinks in hand, they acted as if Day of the Dead was Mardi Gras and another excuse to get blasted. WRONG....SO WRONG!

Some might complain that Dia de los Muertos no longer belongs strictly to the Latino community.Well, there might be some truth to this. What I saw at the procession, for the most part, were some individuals taking part in an event that they understood and respected, respected and were curious, reinterpreted to fit in with their lifestyle, were completely clueless but curious or just plain completely clueless. Other than completely clueless, I think there is room for all of this. When an individual decides to participate in an event that is so different from the life they know, I think this is a good thing. It is educating yourself about another culture. Education breeds understanding rather than ignorance.

San Francisco is not a perfect city by any means but it is a city that encourages understanding rather than ignorance.That is why I live here in a city that covers 49 square miles. We are all smushed together. Not everyone gets along. Not everyone understands each other. Despite that, there is a large enough cross section of the population where curiosity, understanding of our differences is encouraged. This was the theme I saw that was the most prevalent during the procession - a desire to understand, adopt and encourage.

It was a beautiful Dia de los Muertos event.

If you'd like to see more photos of the procession, go to:



  1. Great post! love the pictures Martha!
    I'm a big fan of Dia de los Muertos, thank you for sharing this!

  2. Thanks! Its a great celebration full of a bit of wackiness and lots of sweet remembrances.