It started with a tight-knit group of locals in 1990. Today, Tucson’s All Souls Procession has grown to a groundswell of 150,000 people who march in, or watch, one of the country’s largest processions honoring the deceased.
Often mistaken as a Dia de los Muertos celebration, Tucson’s All Souls Procession is distinct in more ways than this year’s November 4 date. Part outdoor sanctuary, part healing remembrance for those honoring and grieving loved ones and part gallery studded with elaborate floats, performance artists and fantastic costumes, the procession’s heartbeat is unique to Tucson and the artists who gave it life 29 years ago.
The procession is more about honoring and celebrating the dead in whatever way feels authentic to all participants, no matter what cultures, countries or traditions they embrace. Some build altars along the procession route. Some join in the procession wearing elaborate costumes or carrying towering paper mâché puppets. Others place messages, wishes or mementos in the massive steel urn that is pulled in front of the procession and ceremonially burned at the finale. What binds it all together is a belief in the power of simple creative acts to help people grieve.
This year the Digital Photography Club of SaddleBrooke had a field trip to photograph the people and activities before and during the procession. Since many of the people spent many hours building their costumes, none of them minded having their photo taken. The All Souls Procession is just one of the many field trips that our club takes every year.
Anyone interested in learning or advancing their photography skills is welcome to join the club. Visit our website at www.digssouth.org or contact Nelson Rodriguez at [email protected] Our monthly meetings are held on the second Saturday of every month in the Coyote Room of the SaddleBrooke One Clubhouse. People arrive around 8:30 a.m. to chat. The meetings start at 9:00 a.m.