Living in Tucson, I’m grateful to experience both American and Mexican cultures. While my blood is mixed with many ethnicities (my family knows of 10), I unfortunately don’t relate to one particular ethnic culture. With that said, I always enjoy embracing and learning about other cultures when the opportunity is presented before me. I’m not alone– All Souls Procession brings 100,000+ attendees to the streets of Tucson!
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a cultural holiday derived from the indigenous people of Mexico and later adopted into the Catholic religion to coincide with All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, from Oct. 31-Nov. 2.
Today, the holiday represents a way for families and friends to remember their deceased loved ones. In Mexico, there are parades and festivities. Families celebrate their lost, loved ones by cooking what was their favorite dish, and also decorating their graves with flowers and small gifts.
Below, is an example that I took in Tucson at the Mercado San Agustin where an altar is decorated with candles, family photos, pan dulce
(Mexican pastries), flowers and others symbolic items to the individual.
Tucson, celebrates the holiday on a Sunday to host the All Souls Procession. It is one of the most highly-anticipated events in the city, and a day where a somber mood covers all. Leading up to the event, some retailers will decorate their store to fit the mood. This year was my second time attending, and I celebrated with Quinn and Alexis.
Why the “Sugar Skull” faces?
A calavera de azucar, translated to “sugar skull,” is used when painting skull faces. While skulls have long been used, the most popular style is Catrina which references to a political cartoon from the early 1900s by José Guadalupe Posada. Posada was known for his satirical and political caricatures, and most famously known for when he depicted a high-society skeleton woman dressed in an elegant, European hat.
During this time period,
the Mexican revolution was taking place and the classes of Mexico were
severely separated as the elite and the poor. His message is, despite
the wealth and fancy clothes some individuals may have, we’re all the same when we die. Since
then, Catrina has played a symbolic role for Día de los Muertos and is frequently seen in the All Souls Procession.