Dia de los Muertos (Day of The Dead)
Each year I am genuinely amazed when I meet Tucsonans who have grown up here and yet never attended the All Souls Procession Parade—or worse yet, never even heard of it.
Along with the annual Gem Show in February and the Open Studio tours, All Souls is one of Tucson’s most magical, important and original events. It truly is the night of nights.
Tucson’s fabulous November parade was the brainchild of local artist Susan Johnson, who conceived All Souls procession as a revision of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos. Ms. Johnson’s initial performance in 1990 honored her late father and—as the years went by—the number of participants grew to staggering proportions.
Costumes, masks, glow sticks, floats, burning cauldrons, marching drum circles, and a mind bending end-of-procession pyrotechnic blowout by the mighty Flam Chen are all rolled up into a brilliant, heart-racing, kid-friendly spectacle which nobody who has any interest in the arts, costumes, fire dancing, or unbridled revelry should ever miss.
Marchers begin to congregate in front of Epic Cafe around 5 pm and the procession begins at 6 pm. Bring a flaming torch, or your pet monster, or maybe a bat with glow-in-the-dark eyes, or even a skeleton in a wheeled coffin, and be amazed by what Tucson’s brightest and wackiest artists come up with. So bring out your dead, and throw ‘em on the cart. Long live All Souls! It makes Halloween look like a tea party.