The All Souls Procession is perhaps one of the most important, inclusive and authentic public ceremonies in North America today. The Procession had its beginnings in 1990 with a ritualistic performance piece created by local artist Susan Johnson, who was grieving the passing of her father. Inspired by Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos holiday, Johnson felt she should honor her father in celebration and creativity. The performance was very well received and many artists were inspired to continue growing the Procession into its modern incarnation.
Today we find ourselves organizing over 35,000 participants on the streets of downtown Tucson for a two-mile long human-powered procession that ends in the finalizing action of burning a large urn filled with the hopes, offerings and wishes of the public for those who have passed. Inside the event are myriads of installation art, altars, performers, and creatives of all kinds collaborating for almost half the year to prepare their offerings to this amazing event. The All Souls Procession, and now the entire All Souls Weekend, is a celebration and mourning of the lives of our loved ones who have passed.
Many Mouths One Stomach (manymouths.org), a non-profit arts collective based in Tucson, AZ, is the organizing body for the Procession, and serves as a vehicle for working artists to collaborate, create, and inspire the public through Festal Culture.
“Festal Culture” is the expression and fulfillment of core human needs through public celebration, ceremony, and ritual. The All Souls Procession is an event that was created to serve the public need to mourn, reflect, and celebrate the universal experience of Death, through their ancestors, loved ones, and the living.
The Procession is a sanctuary for community members from all walks of life to express their grief and loss in a celebration of creative energy and a rejoicing of living.
With the continued cooperation of the City of Tucson, Tucson Police and Fire departments, local businesses, civic organizations, and participants like YOU- MMOS has guided the development of the parade to accommodate the growing number of participants in a healthy and harmonious way.