September 23rd, 2012

Finally, after all these years, I’m remembering to write about Dia de los Muertos in time to tell you to go to it! This has been a huge failure on my part, so, now that I’ve remembered, I need all of you to pay attention because I’m sending you to one of the best things that happens in San Francisco. But it’s a one-day-only thing, though, so you’ve got to get it together and go, OK?

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, for those of you who don’t know, is a smashing together of ancient Aztec practice and All Soul’s Day. It’s meant both to remember friends and relatives who have passed away and also to illuminate the link between life and death. In Mexico it’s a two-day celebration that includes picnics in graveyards and plenty of mescal.

San Francisco’s Dia de los Muertos is a carriage of old tradition into the modern world. Every year, a park in the Mission, the city’s Latino neighborhood, is filled with altars made by local artists, and this collection of altars becomes the starting point of a giant procession. Everyone is welcome and many come painted as skeletons, wearing vivid colors, and carrying the mementos of their beloved dead, to parade all night through the city streets. It’s ghostly and celebratory and deeply peaceful. This parade is one of the things that San Francisco comes together to do that shows its eccentric, loving nature in the fullest light. This city this is a place unlike any other, and Dia de los Muertos is a great way to see exactly what that means. It’s on November 2nd this year, and the parade starts at 7pm. Please come out for it!

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