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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    It’s a weekend full of events to honor the dead

    Paper maché masks, mobile altars, pictures, floats and banners will litter Tucson’s Downtown streets when Sunday’s All Souls Procession culminates the weeklong celebration surrounding Dia de los Muertos and All Souls Day.

    Many Mouths One Stomach, an organization of local artists, teachers and activists who have joined forces, is overseeing the procession and all the events leading up to it.

    “”The magical thing about the actual procession is it’s open to everyone and it’s completely organic,”” said Fonda Insley, a Many Mouths board member.

    With the help of sponsors like Epic Café, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, The Loft Cinema and many others, MMOS has organized commemorative fundraisers, community altars and vigils to the public.

    The opening of the second Annual All Souls Procession/Day of the Dead Fine Art Photography Exhibition today will mark the beginning of the festivities.

    “”The procession is a public service, and I feel like it’s an event that is able to transform people, heal people and actually provide some more insight to what it means to be human, and the subject of death,”” said board member Adam Cooper, also the MMOS technical director.

    The procession tradition is 17 years old and was initiated by a local artist who was mourning the passing of her father. This year, 10,000 participants are expected to show up to participate in the two-mile jaunt through Downtown. The parade will start at North Fourth Avenue and East University Boulevard and head south, eventually ending up at East Congress Street.

    The parade helps some individuals celebrate immortality, while others try to confront the challenges of everyday life, Cooper said. Some people join the procession with hope of shedding bad habits.

    “”It’s a way for people to release their demons,”” he said. “”Last year, we had a bunch of smokers dress up as cigarette butts.””

    All Souls Day, or All Saints Day, originates from Western Christian tradition.

    Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, falls on Nov. 1 and 2 every year and coincides with All Souls Day. Day of the Dead has its roots in traditional Mexican culture.

    “”It’s a perfect example of how the two cultures melded with the native people of Mexico and their belief system, and the European colonists who brought Catholicism with them,”” Cooper said.

    Both holidays commemorate the life of friends, family members and pets who have passed on.

    “”Because we are so close to the border, there is a strong openness to the Mexican culture and their traditions,”” Cooper said.

    Day of the Dead usually spans two days, with the first day honoring children. This day is also called Dia de los Angelitos, or Day of the Little Angels.

    The second day brings the traditional Dia de los Muertos celebration.

    “”There are tons of people who make huge masks and puppets, so sometimes kids get scared during the parade,”” Insley said.

    Saturday’s Procession of Little Angels will allow children and their families to discuss the subject of death and observe it in any way they choose. Kids will participate in creative workshops in which they can customize wings to wear in the parade.

    “”It’s a neat family event,”” Insley said. “”Everything we do is non-denominational, so it’s up to the participants and how they want to view what they are doing.””

    The child-friendly procession will end with an event at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave. The event will encourage the community to examine the notions of life and death. It also allows children to speak about their feelings on the circle of life.

    “”The Procession of Little Angels gives the parents an opportunity to approach the subject of mortality in their own way,”” Insley said.

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