10 November 2010

All Souls Procession...Tucson Arizona 2010

Well hello there!

I'm sure with the silence for the past couple of days, and you knowing that I went to Tucson's Day of the Dead Procession, you were probably wondering if I maybe had gotten swept into the river of souls that were parading and remembering and calling attention to on Sunday?

I almost did.
The procession was a very powerful experience coming on the heels of what was a very relaxing weekend with Andrew and Angie, who accompanied me down south for the trip.  We happen to travel quite well together (although I didn't have any doubts) and I have no idea whether it's because I was traveling in Arizona, or the fact that I've been to Tucson more than several times in my life, but we were seriously chill.  It was a whole lot of meandering around, finding fantastic little coffee shops and other little boutiques...chit chatting and discovering the most wonderful food

(it's Tucson, they're serious about their Mexican food down there.  Very serious.  Also?  Megan gave us a little list of good things to check out.  She did not lead us astray.)

We stayed at the Quality Inn Flamingo Hotel which is a cute little historic hotel they've re-done very close to Fourth Ave. and UofA.  I have always wanted to stay at some sort of Flamingo Hotel after I totally blew it and didn't stay at Andy Womaks Flamingo Motor Inn when I lived in Flagstaff (it was a wonderful old Route 66 Motel, although I'm not sure if it had ever been updated, so it may have been dicey...but one should try as hard as they can to live out their dreams...yes?)

There were no flamingos at the hotel anywhere, which I'm sure they could have done with at the pool area, but I'll just bring mine from home next time.


We kind of got a bit mixed up with the schedule of what was happening the weekend of the Day of the Dead, and we probably should have stayed until Monday and then come home, but we all got a little flexible and made our weekend work for us.  Which means we got to see the Angel Procession which is in honor of all the children that have passed.

This was a smaller procession of children at a nearby park.  Also at the park there were several families with altars set up for their loved ones while they sat and looked on.  There were also performances by several schools and very talented children (a lot on stilts.  Tucson has a very large "circus" and performance culture that starts with all sorts of camps and classes for youth) there was also several places you could write the names of your own little family members and a slide show of pictures being projected onto the side of the building...which was so touching, it was hard not to cry.

I don't know any of the people in the pictures, but it was wonderful to see them all...and so very many pictures of people's animals as well.  I will think to pack waterproof mascara next time.

The night of the big procession, which is held on a Sunday (NowWeKnow) the members of Flam Chen, the amazing fire performers (who also perform a huge finale) were running around in the crowds handing out and collecting pieces of paper from people who wrote blessings, messages, or things they want to let go of, so that they may be burned at the big ending ceremony.

I have seen Flam Chen perform several times in Prescott thanks to Tsunami on the Square...but it's still very hard to miss one of their performances if you're right there...but we did have to get home and it is about a four hour drive from that very place.

We were there about an hour early to check everything out, and when the procession finally started, people crowded close to the route, and I had the feeling of standing on the river bank of a very somber and sacred flow of...well, death, love and memories.
There were a lot of people holding pictures and lit candles, floats...for the wolves that are being killed in Arizona, Water, Our AZ education system, The BP oil spill and the sea life that was lost there, Names of the children that have committed suicide from the bulling in school, various propositions that passed in AZ during the most recent election...it was absolutely amazing.

And totally profound.

I can't say that I was overstimulated or even overwhelmed.  I was just there, standing and watching it all go by trying to acknowledge all the memories and thoughts people had brought with them.


Warren said...

Great post! - its really a wonderful event and experience, not the least of which is getting 20,000 people downtown for a peaceful, non-commercial, multi-generational gathering on a sunday night.

Bobbypin Bandit said...

I die of jealousy and envy over the fact that you were at the DOD parade in Tucson!!! I die!!! That large Malinche skeleton in the fifth picture you posted - my friend Mauricio helped construct it.... I am glad you went and enjoyed all the costumes and such. It's one of my most favorite times of year.... I am devastated that I missed it!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin