What gathers 100,000 people to the streets of downtown Tucson to celebrate loss, life, and the meaning of it all? The All Souls Day Procession, a special night to celebrate those you have lost, is a long lasting tradition in Tucson. As masses of people begin to celebrate and walk down the streets of Tucson, you will see many different cultures and ages come together. It’s easily one of the most celebrated holidays in Tucson with this year’s celebration, Nov. 2-4, being the 29th annual event.
Attendees experience the Procession in many ways: in street clothes or in costume, some with faces elaborately painted, and others just there to quietly witness. Musicians and groups play hymns like “Amazing Grace” and other songs of remembrance. Participants might be walking for a deceased family member, friend, or pet; if you’re feeling loss or grief, this is an opportunity to join those feeling it as well to celebrate the lives of loved ones lost.
Luke Gil, an independent filmmaker and recent Tucson high school senior, captured some of the amazing images, and unique moments in his short film titled All Souls. His project began as a photo shoot for a school project then became a film. He interviewed people attending the event, trying to find out what the holiday symbolizes to them. To Luke himself, remembering his loved one’s accomplishments in life, instead of mourning their loss, is important. Luke states “I wanted to create a look into an event that has brought together people of multiple backgrounds and ethnicities to celebrate the same thing: their loved ones and the lives they lived.” His film was shown in April at the Arizona International Film Fest for independent filmmakers.
This holiday has and will continue to have a special place in the soul of Tucson. You can learn more about this annual local event at: allsoulsprocession.org.