Each year, in early November, there is an event in Tucson that makes me giddy with anticipation- the All Soul’s Procession. Here’s the description of how the Procession came to be from the excellent website:
“The All Souls Procession is perhaps one of the most important, inclusive and authentic public ceremonies in North America today. The Procession had its beginnings in 1990 with a ritualistic performance piece created by local artist Susan Johnson, who was grieving the passing of her father. Inspired by Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos holiday, Johnson felt she should honor her father in celebration and creativity. The performance was very well received and many artists were inspired to continue growing the Procession into its modern incarnation.
Today we find ourselves organizing over 20,000 participants on the streets of downtown Tucson for a two-mile long human-powered procession that ends in the finalizing action of burning a large urn filled with the hopes, offerings and wishes of the public for those who have passed. Inside the event are myriads of installation art, altars, performers, and creatives of all kinds collaborating for almost half the year to prepare their offerings to this amazing event. The All Souls Procession, and now the entire All Souls Weekend, is a celebration and mourning of the lives of our loved ones who have passed.”
Many people dress up as brides and grooms, in the vein of Dia De los Muertos. My costume has a wedding theme as well- the flowers used are silk flowers that were used at my wedding, seven years ago. Instead of them ending up in some box in my shed, I used them to create this costume:
During the procession, my husband usually finds some drummers to play with- this year we processed with my bellydance friends and I had a wonderful time, dancing for most of the two miles. I was so busy dancing that I didn’t take many pictures, but here are some shots from the procession and finale:
After the procession, there is an incredible finale with fire performers, acrobats, and the burning of an urn filled with prayers. Really, you’ve just got to go and see it for yourself.
If you’d like to see additional pictures from this event, you can visit the Flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/tucson_all_souls_procession/