Celebrating life and death
This article was previously posted in Spanish.
Celebrating the dead is a Mexican concept in which a person can share their emotions with many others participating in the Day of The Dead.
Even though this celebration is a Mexican festivity, many other countries celebrate it as well, like the U.S., which has a population of 33.6 million Mexican-Americans and 11.6 million people who are from Mexican origin, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Due to the U.S. immense diversity, it has adopted masses of followers from all different backgrounds wanting to follow the Day of The Dead.
The Mission District in San Francisco, has celebrated Day of the Dead for over 30 years and the heart of this festivity has begun in the intersection of 22nd and Bryant.
Marco Salazar, owner of Frida’s Closet in the Mission, explained to us how he has celebrated November 2 in San Francisco for over 20 years. He also described how big this day has gotten since his first time participating in it.
“It is something that surprised me, outside out of Mexico I’ve never seen another celebration here in the U.S. this big.”
Salazar passionately described how the celebration in the Mission incorporates many cultural elements, rituals and just embracing death instead of fearing it.
“This year it was bigger, from small altars at Garfield Park too many blocks packed with people parading,” Salazar said. “Not only Mexicans but people from other communities as well.”
For Juana Guera, senior student at SF State majoring in Latina/o studies did not hold back in how proud and excited she was to participate in the parade for the first time and how this experience is something unique.
She continued to describe how amazing it looked with masses of people from different background gathering and participating in the Day of the Dead.
“It helps me to be at this event to overcome the fact that I can’t go to Mexico to celebrate Day of the Dead,” Guerra said. “I know people that have passed away in Mexico and here I can honor them.”
It was her first time visiting the Mission and participating at Day of the Dead for SF State junior and Women and Gender Studies, Vanessa Flores.
Flores described her excitement for her first time at the event and the Mission and was curious how people from different backgrounds would celebrate this Mexican festivity.
“I embrace other people who aren’t Mexican who want to celebrate,” Flores said. “But I do care when people are against Mexican immigrants but want to celebrate Mexican holidays like Cinco de Mayo or the Day of the Dead.”
In the streets of the Mission there was no shortage of people, traditional Mexican food and music that made all the present souls dance that night of November 2.
“For me this is one of the more beautiful things us Mexicans have,” San Francisco resident, Hector Rico said. “I proudly represent Mexico in which ever country I’m at.”