It was the annual All Souls Procession! It is my favorite parade of the year!
The All Souls Procession is in honor of the Day of the Dead and it's become kind of a big deal in Tucson. It comes from the Mexican tradition of honoring and celebrating loved ones who have passed.
This parade is kind a Day of the Dead inspired mish mash of community outreach, political causes, traditional Mexican culture, paper mache floats, mobile shrines, fire balls, and people on stilts. It's wild and quirky and with heavy drum beats and Mariachi music serving as the background, I enjoy every minute we're there. I say that, specifically, because we always get there late. But I digress.
When people think of the Day of the Dead they think of skeleton faced bride and grooms. They think of folksy figurines and trendy t-shirts. Yes, the parade does have a fun and upbeat atmosphere. That's why it grows every year!
My munchkins were totally impressed. Can't you tell? Actually, Christian is tired and Lola is a little freaked out. Skeletons aren't her favorite thing but she got used to them after she noticed all of us in skeleton face and then everyone in the crowd in skeleton face. Her only requirement was that we use the color pink. So she got a pink heart on her forehead.
The parade is definitely a sight to behold. But the basis of this parade has a deeper meaning that goes beyond what people might think of this celebration. People who walk in the parade actually are mourning loved ones. They are celebrating their dad, their mom, friends, and children. All of the sudden, the celebration is entirely too meaningful to be just trendy.
We got to see Ben's Bells! And if you look toward the middle-bottom right, you'll see a picture of little Ben, who inspired the whole kindness movement. They're remembering and celebrating him.
This procession comes at the end of a tough week in the near drowning community. We lost two of our survivors - Collin and Madison. So it seemed appropriate that I remember them. I wrote their names on my arms and carried them with me.
I read a blog of a woman who recently lost her daughter, Eva, a few months ago. Eva was a classmate of Christian's last year. Her mom beautifully expresses her feelings of missing Eva and quotes the movie, Steel Magnolias.
"I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special."
Tonight was about celebrating the quirky, the folksy, the crazy, and the trendy.
And all the wonderful, too.