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Last night was my third Dia de los Muertos in San Francisco. In 2009, a friend and I were observers, watching the spectacle from the sidewalk. Last year, we donned skull masks. This year we painted our faces in traditional Day of the Dead face paint and joined the procession. I carried a bouquet of orange flowers and a picture of a dear friend who passed away in July.
Caitlin Donohue of the San Francisco Bay Guardian("Start your day off dead: Your Dia de los Muertos events guide") writes:
"There is probably no more devastatingly beautiful day in San Francisco as today, Dia de los Muertos."I agree. Dia de los Muertos is beautiful and devastating, because while it's seems festive with it's music, dance and pageantry, at it's core it's a solemn event, a time for remembering the dearly departed.
I believe we need ritual in our lives, whether it revolves around the changing of the seasons, life or death. Dia de los Muertos has become a new ritual for me, something I look forward to and take solace in.