Dia de los Muertos
The Hispanic community turns out into the so-often marched upon San Francisco streets each autumn to celebrate their ancestors. The dead ones, that is. The Dia de los Muertos and Festival of Altars procession takes place as close as possible to All Saint’s Day (also Halloween, Samhain, and other cultures’ harvest festivals) in the Mission District.
Walkers are encouraged to bring flowers, candles, and special items to create altars in honor of their deceased loved ones, and artists create beautiful murals and signs to celebrate those who have come and gone. You’ll note a distinct theme to the artwork: skulls and bones, mostly, though roses also tend to twine through the scenes.
Unlike a funeral, Dia de los Muertos truly is a celebration, so expect music and dancing and a genuine sense of joy in the lives of the dead, rather than somber mourning.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition