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Recordando a Nuestros Seres Queridos

Celebrating Día De Los Muertos during COVID-19 Episode 2

November 30, 2020

In episode two of  “Recordando a Nuestros Seres Queridos,” Lin-Yu Diaz and Luis Gutierrez share how they celebrate Día de los Muertos in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lin-Yu Diaz is a Yucatec Mayan, Mexican woman who lives in the North Bay and volunteers with the Multicultural Center of Marin County. This year, she put a spotlight on her Mayan heritage.

“Our celebrations or cuisine or style of dress vary from region to region – Yucatan is no exception to that,” Lin-Yu Diaz said. “We have our own Día de los Muertos celebration called ‘Hanal Pixán.’”

Her altar — referred to as “ofrenda” in Spanish — was built in the style of Hanal Pixán, in which main components of the altar include a green cross placed on the top made with the leaves of a ceiba tree, which is sacred to Mayans, and three tiers representing the Earth, underworld and heaven.

Another element of creating a Hanal Pixán ofrenda is putting photos of deceased loved ones.

“Like other places in Mexico, for your ofrenda, you put a picture of the loved one you’re honoring that passed on to the other realm,” Lin-Yu Diaz said.

In the Mission District, community activist and part-time Santa Rosa radio host Luis Guitierrez spent his time helping at La Reyna Bakery, a multigenerational, family-owned business.

In other years celebrating Día de Los Muertos, Gutierrez would practice with his Aztec dance troupe in a studio to parade on 24th Street. The dance has a ceremonial component with the intention to bless the altars that shop owners and residents build and place along 24th Street.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, no physical events were planned. All events were switched to virtual presentation to prevent the further spread of the virus.

This didn’t stop Guiterrez from celebrating with his dance troupe. The practice was held openly in Chan Kaajal Park, and Guitterez went on to dance with his troupe on 24th Street.

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About the Contributors
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 Jun Ueda
Jun Ueda
Jun Ueda is the Photo Editor for Golden Gate Xpress this Spring. He's super excited to tackle a bunch of stories with the staff. It's his last semester at SF State and he's studying photojournalism with a minor in geography. In his free time he likes to rock climb, surf, and play soccer if I'm not messing around with my camera.
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.

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