5 Favorite Things from the All Souls Procession 2013 in Tucson
Despite the fact that it occurs right after All Hallow's Eve, the annual All Souls Procession in Tucson is by no means a Halloween-oriented celebration. Indeed, there are few connections between the yearly exercise in candy and costumed excess and this esteemed Day of the Dead-themed Southern Arizona celebration, except that both are concurrent on the calendar and have meandering roots in Catholic culture.
Photos by Benjamin Leatherman An estimated 100,000 people march along Congress Street in Tucson during the All Souls Procession 2013.
The All Souls Procession is more of a sacred and emotionally tinged event. It has been held every year on the first Sunday in November since its founding in 1990, and the event draws more than 100,000 people to the streets of downtown Tucson to honor those who have passed to the great beyond or to celebrate Día de los Muertos.
It's the biggest Day of the Dead event in Arizona, if not the Southwest, and includes people from every walk of life, as well as a significant amount of Valley residents who make the two-hour trip to the Old Pueblo to participate in the three-mile trek along with a crowd of artists, performers, musicians, students, freaks, geeks, and anyone else eager to join in.
A mobile altar.
It's always been of a particularly vibrant and arty bent, thanks to the various memorials, altars, costumes, and colorful displays that are created for the event. It's a lot to take in all at once, as evidenced by something we overheard a fellow attendee say while witnessing the 2013 version of the procession this past Sunday.
"There's just so much to see," they said. "It's overwhelming."
Indeed it is. That is why we put together a list of our favorite parts of the All Souls Procession for easier consumption.
The raison d'être behind the entire event. Every year, tens of thousands of participants pay tribute to the dearly departed, and it's one of the most poignant and evocative aspects of the procession. Some tributes involved pinning pictures to clothing, carrying photos of loved ones, or even crafting mobile altars.
A backpack altar at the All Souls Procession.
Tributes and memorials at the event also took the form of more abstract, thematic, or metaphorical concepts, such as a troupe of people wearing monarch butterfly wings in honor of the endangered insect or a few attendees carrying signs for the immigrants who have perished while crossing the Arizona desert. One individual also carried a sign paying homage to the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who perished in the Yarnell Hill fire.