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Celebrating Día De Los Muertos during COVID-19 Episode 1

November 24, 2020

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.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Sebastian Mino-Bucheli
Sebastian Mino-Bucheli
Sebastian Miño-Bucheli is a photographer, videographer, and coffee enthusiast at the Golden Gate Xpress while majoring in Photojournalism and minoring in Latin American Studies. Previously a transfer student from Los Angeles Valley College, he’s now lived in San Francisco for three years but will always be a proud Angeleno (818 No Quema Cuh). Sebastian is an Ecuadorian-American who wants to focus more on his Latinx community to push representation.
Photo of Harika Maddala
Harika Maddala
Harika Maddala is a senior year student at San Francisco State University, pursuing a bachelor’s

in Photojournalism and a minor in International Relations. Born and raised in India, Harika

earned her BA in journalism in the country and transferred to SF State in 2019, to earn a four-

year bachelor’s degree. She has been clicking photos since age 14 and has had her photos

displayed at various galleries including at a TedX exhibition in India in 2016, at Yerba Buena

Arts Gallery in June 2019, and at Samy’s Camera in the Spring of 2019. Harika enjoys shooting

anything with a lot of action- dance, weddings, concerts, protests, and riots. She is currently

exploring multimedia and finds video and audio editing relaxing- almost like a craft of weaving

things together. She joined the Xpress newspaper team in Summer 2020 and this is her last

semester in college. She aims to work on more projects related to queer identities, race and

immigration issues, body image, and mental health in the future.
Photo of Andres Velasquez
Andres Velasquez
Andres Velasquez as born-and-raised in San Francisco. Andres went to City College of San Francisco for two years before transferring to San Francisco State University in Fall 2019. He decided to pursue journalism after my first semester at CCSF with the intention of combining his talent for writing with his love of sports. His main interests are soccer, basketball and American football. During his time at CCSF Andres covered the school's women's tennis team for the second half the Spring 2017 semester for The Guardsman, CCSF's student publication.

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