Día de los Muertos is on Sunday and Monday, and as always the Mission will host the annual procession and funeral of altars on Monday, a hundreds-strong march of painted faces, costumed dancers, blaring trumpets, lights, skulls, candles, incense, and, more often than not, activists carrying anti-gentrification signs and making speeches on the changing neighborhood.
It’s tradition, and this year promises the same excitement and celebration as years past. Check out some of the events in the next few days commemorating Day of the Dead:
Saturday, October 31st
- Come out to the Mission Dolores Cemetery from 12 p.m. till 4 p.m. to create all you’ll need for Dia de los Muertos. Face painting, paper flower making, “yummy cultural treats,” — and all ages welcome and free.
Sunday, November 1st
- Come to the Redstone Labor Building at 2940 16th St. to commemorate the passing of Jovana Luna, a famed transgender activist in the Mission who died unexpectedly on August 16. Her organization, El/La Para TransLatinas is hosting a fundraiser and show from 6 p.m. till 9 p.m., hoping to raise money to support their work with transgender Latinas.
- Join the Red Poppy Art House from 6 p.m. till 10 p.m. (and again the following day at the same times) for an unveiling of the exhibit El Mito Contemporáneo de Más Allá (The Contemporary Myth of the Beyond), with food — tamales and champurrado — and live music. On Monday night, the art house will participate on the procession beginning at Alex Nieto’s memorial site on Bernal Hill, with a discussion on police violence to begin the march and live performances to honor victims at its end.
- And join Casa Bonampak for face painting and sugar skull making from 12 p.m. till 3 p.m. For $7 you’ll be able to make your own sugar skull with a fifth generation artisan from Mexico — and then stay for DJ Calavera Crooner Ron Obregon from 5 p.m. till 7 p.m. for some live music. Also join them Monday night from 6 p.m. till 10 p.m. for their Dia de los Muertos fiesta, featuring more face painting, DJing, and pan de muerto.
Monday, November 2nd
- Drop in at Asiento for face painting and body art by two pros, in time for the procession later in the day. Audette Sophia and Vanessa Plumina will be painting from 4 p.m. till 7 p.m. for $15, though private bookings go till 5:30 p.m. so drop-in after that if you don’t have an appointment.
- Go to Pops Bar at 5 p.m. for a night of music, drink, and dance with DJ Slopoke, with proceeds from face painting and food going towards Precita Eyes, according to organizers.
- Then, head to Galeria de la Raza for a night of poetry, drumming, and Afro-Puerto Rican bomba. From 6 p.m. till 8 p.m. people will gather outside of the gallery on 24th and Bryant for the annual Dia de los Muertos event, and it’s free and open to the public.
- Join Fogo Na Roupa, Ron Obregon and professional face painters at Casa Bonampak on Valencia Street from 6 to 10 p.m. for music, food, and more from 6 to 10 p.m.
- Check out the opening reception for the Mission Cultural Center’s ongoing exhibit The Bones of Our Ancestors, on display from October 16 to November 20. From 6 p.m. till 11 p.m., the center will be serving free hot chocolates and pan de muerto — with the purchase a $7 ticket. The exhibit is a protest of the canonization of Junipero Serra last month, and the center will also be showing a trailer to an upcoming documentary on art and revolution.
- Finally, the main event of the evening, the annual Dia de los Muertos procession and festival of altars. Starting at 4 p.m. at Garfield Park by 25th and Harrison, the organizers invite you to create an altar for a lost loved one, joining the hundreds of other altars that will decorate the park. Then at 7 p.m. on the corner of 22nd and Bryant, the procession will begin, featuring 13 bamboo standards to the Aztec god Miquiztli — the god of death, symbolized by a skull — and to Tecciztecal, the old moon god. The procession will make a circle in the Mission, moving from 22nd and Bryant down to 24th Street and across to Mission Street, before going up to 22nd Street and moving down 22nd towards Bryant for a closing reception where the march began. The organizers kindly request contributions — the event has had no city, state, federal, or corporate funding for three decades to maintain its independence — and reminds people that the procession is drug and alcohol free and open to families.