Celebrators of the Día De Los Muertos, also referred to as Day of the Dead, remembered their loved ones who have passed away, some during the pandemic.
Connie Rivera and Denise Gonzales are two store owners on San Francisco’s 24th Street. Rivera, owner of Mixcoatl Arts and Crafts, and Gonzales, owner of Luz de Luna, sell Día De Los Muertos arts and crafts, among other things.
Rivera spoke about how she and their community had to change the way they celebrated Día De Los Muertos this year.
“There will not be a procession this year. There will be altars, but not like before,” Rivera said. She mentioned that people normally congregate in large numbers at parks to commemorate their loved ones who have passed away. That did not happen this year.
Still, Rivera and Gonzales placed altars outside and inside their stores to allow customers to honor their deceased loved ones at.
“I think this year is very special. The pandemic is here. We will be open. There will not be a parade, but I think that people will be more prudent, and here also, to maintain the distance, take good care of ourselves, which is very important. 24th street will be open. They will have different altars throughout different blocks, and I think it will be very nice,” Gonzales said.
To Rivera, who’s sister-in-law in Mexico passed away recently from COVID-19, celebrating Día De Los Muertos means “to honor and remember our loved ones, the people that already left, that went ahead of us. And this, apart from remembering, is to honor them, but also to maintain the tradition alive.”
Gonzales also lost loved ones during the pandemic. She lost dear friends from her native country Peru.
“This year, I think with more fervor, I think many of us have lost friends, we have lost family members, and many people are in pain in their souls. And, well, the only thing we have left is to make them an offering, make them an altar, remember them and have them in our heart,” Gonzales said.