White smoke from incense, candles, palo santo, and sage danced with the laughter that filled the Mission District in October for Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead celebration.
The annual Mexican tradition celebrates the lives and memories of those who have died. While the event’s energy carries a deep reverence, it is also a party. Attendees paint their faces to resemble skeletons and dance and sing in the street to remember their loved ones. Some decorate ornate altars with offerings of their deceased’s favorite worldly pleasures: Candy, flowers, CD’s, art, mezcal, bread, toy cars, soccer cleats, and for a few, flags of their home countries.
This year, organizers set up a funeral procession to call attention to immigrant children who have died while attempting to cross into the United States. The United Nations’ Institute of Migration has already reported 341 migrant deaths on the U.S.-Mexico border this year.
Other participants set up their own altars at La Raza park on 25th and Potrero, the parade’s end-point and most lively dedicated space.