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Dia de los Muertos

November 3, 2010

Last night was the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, and we went out for the annual procession in San Francisco’s Mission district. The parade is a big deal in this part of town, and it’s my favorite event in San Francisco. The first year we went we didn’t know what to expect, and we attended as spectators, but ever since that year we’ve dressed up and painted our faces.

This year I wore a dress that I dyed black myself. It actually used to be white, but I stained it (with coffee, I think), so I decided it should be my Day of the Dead dress and I dyed it black with iDye on the stovetop. The costume didn’t seem complete without some fake flowers on my head, but I didn’t want to buy any, so I made my headpiece in about 20 minutes right before we had to leave. Basically I used the technique in this tutorial, and then I stitched the flowers to a long strip of fabric. For such a last-minute addition, I think it turned out quite well. I had to do my makeup in a rush, so I wasn’t totally happy with it, but it looked good enough. I think last year’s makeup was better.

Steven and me in the parade.

Me, Steven, and my friend Megan. I love the poppies in her hair!

Time for texting and twittering! That’s Megan and our friend Whitney. Whitney’s makeup is really awesome.

An Aztec dancer. Their costumes were amazing, but difficult to capture in the dark parade.

In years past the route has gone past people’s homes where they set up alters for the dead, and ended at a park covered in shrines for lost loved ones. This year, due to budgetary woes and the growing popularity of the parade, the route was changed so that it didn’t end at the park. I think the parade suffered for it, because it was missing the sad remembrances of actual people who have died this year. There is nothing so touching as reading a small child’s note to her departed parent. Without those personal touches the parade is fun, but not as emotionally charged. Still, I’m glad we went!

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