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Mission District Dia de los Muertos celebrations are scaled back, but still happening

Mission District Dia de los Muertos celebrations are scaled back, but still happening
Image: Dia de los Muertos: Day of the Dead SF via Facebook
By Joe Kukura - Published on November 02, 2021.

San Francisco will still observe its annual post-Halloween, November 2 Dia de los Muertos celebrations Tuesday evening, but not in the normal fashion of proceeding through the Mission District and ending with large-scale altar installations at Potrero del Sol Park. That particular celebration will be online again Tuesday night, out of safety concerns, but the Mission Cultural Center is still holding a (not free) in-person Day of the Dead celebration, and there are a couple of other small gatherings about town tonight.

The big annual Mission District Dia de los Muertos procession that has been organized by the Marigold Project since the 1970s will again be an online livestream. “Please join us on November 2nd at 7 pm PST for the Virtual Festival of Altars,” their website says.  “Join our YouTube Channel to view or watch on Facebook Live. Let’s come together and honor our ancestors by remembering their gifts in this sacred ceremony."

Meanwhile, though, the Mission Cultural Center will revive their annual in-person event, though it is a $5-$10 sliding scale admission. The center’s Day of the Dead’s celebration Ni Tanto Ni Tan Muertos— Neither So Much, Nor So Dead (6 p.m.-10 p.m.) “will have altars dedicated to: Hug Lu (visual artist), Ann Halprin (dancer), Jack Hirschman (poet), Yolanda Lopez (visual artist),” plus Aztec Dancers, poetry, a screening of the mini-documentary Shamans In The City, and a 9 p.m. outdoor performance by musician Inti Batey.

There also appears to be a small outdoor gathering planned outside the Buena Vista Horace Mann elementary school at 23rd and Bartlett Streets. That gathering will feature the Afro-Latino youth dance group Loco Bloco, plus other musicians and dance collectives.

And over in the Tenderloin, they’re planning a kid-friendly Day of the Dead celebration at Boeddeker Park. According to the host Tenderloin Community Benefit District, “Activities will include a drum circle, photobooth and coloring. Face painting will be available from 5-6PM, and Teokalli will perform an Aztec dance and ceremony at 6PM. Snacks and beverages will also be provided.“

A few face-painted skeleton people might still show up and proceed down 24th Street and through the usual procession path, but nothing formal is planned. After, we’re still in this pandemic, and as we remember the dearly departed, we’d rather not add to their ranks.