This past week has been filled with events leading up to the 22nd annual All Souls Procession. The procession started off as a performance piece by a local artist to commemorate the passing of her father, but has now grown to include more than 20,000 participants.
The procession is inspired by Day of the Dead, an ritual originally celebrated by the indigenous people of Mexico and passed down for thousands of years. Today, it is celebrated by people all over the Catholic world. Day of the Dead coincides with the Catholic All Souls day and All Saints day.
Ornate alters, or ofrendas, are created to commemorate dead loved ones. They are decorated with candles, marigolds, pictures, and even bread and tequila.
On Wednesday, November 2, people set up ofrendas at Mercado San Agustin. The alter was set up on the courtyard and people brought all kinds of keepsakes, sugar skulls, and pictures for their loved ones. There was even a small urn set up in front of the alter for people to fill with messages and offerings to those who have passed away.
Before that, on Saturday, October 29, the organizers of the All Souls Procession held a Photography competition and exhibition at Studio 455, a quiant art studio tucked away in an alley street on Ferro Ave, just south of 6th St. The exhibit featured photographs taken at previous years All Souls Processions. After the winner of the competition was announced, Paul Weir and Nadia Hagen, board members of Many Mouths One Stomach, the organization that puts the procession together, made speeches thanking everyone for their contributions to the exhibit and answered questions about the procession.
This past weekend, the Procession of Little Angels took place at Armory Park [this was made possible when Occupy Tucson protesters voted to move their tents from Armory Park to Veinte de Agosto Park]. Parents and children flocked to the park to design and decorate angel wings and stars. Tables were set up for face-painting, paper flower making, and sugar skull decorating. At sundown, a mini-parade around the park occured and ended at the stage where children’s short stories, poems, and performances were held.