Day of the Dead enveloped the Mission last week. Thousands processed through the streets to honor those who have passed. Or to play dress up and party.
Afterwards, people gathered at Garfield Park to visit altars built by Mission folks who wanted to pay homage to people who have left us. They ranged from traditional to modern, Frida Kahlo to Burning Man, reverent to playful. LiLo talked to a few of the creators about the reasons behind why they made altars.
This lady is a hospice nurse who comforts people, mainly AIDS victims, who are on death’s door. She made her altar to honor the patients who have passed through her life, and her fellow healthcare workers who have helped them through the transition.
Next I talked to Rosa. She needed to run home and get some more photos, so LiLo let her borrow his bike so she wouldn’t lose her parking spot. She’s experienced a lot of loss recently. Her son’s friend was murdered at 23rd and Harrison, her pastor recently died, etc. Rosa was super nice, and seemed to have quite the network of folks around her.
Lastly, I talked with Dominic and MacKenzie Santiago, who made one of the more accessible, participatory altars at this year’s Day of the Dead festivities. Theirs spanned many religions and cultures; photos of Jimi Hendrix, Steve Jobs and Black Jesus were inches away from each other. As we were chatting, a guy came up and put a photo of his dog on the altar, and told us how much she meant to him. Every year the Santiago brothers take the marigolds from the altar and place them at graves in Colma that are over 100 years old, to keep the energy flowing.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s Day of the Dead festivities. Hopefully it gave peace to those who sought it.