The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

The Mission District celebrates el Día de los Muertos

November 3, 2021

Despite Día de los Muertos festivities in the Mission District being formally held online, community members and shopkeepers held a procession along 24th Street to celebrate the holiday.

The Mission District has been celebrating this tradition every Nov. 2 since the early ’70s, but since the ’90s, the Marigold Project organized the Mission’s official Día de los Muertos Festival of Altars procession.

For a second year in a row, the Marigold Project’s procession was held virtually due to COVID-19 and concerns of the Delta Variant.

Traditional paper banners and marigold flowers decorated the street to guide deceased loved ones back home, all the way to Potrero del Sol Park.

Altars set up on walkways and storefronts displayed the photos of late loved ones and were adorned with food and other items they once enjoyed. Marigold flowers are widely believed to act as a guide home for those who have passed away and are visiting from the afterlife.

To Xochi Peña, marigolds blooming signify a message from dead loved ones saying, “I am here,” and give her a sense that they are with her on this night.

Peña’s family had one of the biggest altars on 24th Street, just outside of her family’s Mixcoatl gift shop. She said their family really wanted to go all out this year and make the celebration “extra special,” to honor her uncle, Luis Cruz, who died earlier this year from cancer.

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Photo of Nicolas Cholula
Nicolas Cholula

Nicolas Cholula grew up in Orange County, Calif., where he first picked up a film camera while working at a thrift store and quickly fell in love with photography. Nicolas chased his passion into community college, where he took his first classes in photography. Since then, Nicolas has become most interested in telling stories from his community and photographing current events. He is currently working toward his Bachelor of Arts in Photojournalism at San Francisco State University and works as the Multimedia Editor for the Golden Gate Xpress.

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