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 Tucson, Arizona in 1990 with a ceremonial performance piece created by local artist Susan Johnson. Johnson was grieving the passing of her father, and as an artist, she found solace in a creative, celebratory approach to memorializing him. Says Johnson, “From the beginning, it was different people’s ethnic groups, different cultures, but also it was all these different art forms put together.”
After that first year, many artists were inspired to continue, growing the Procession into its modern incarnation. Today we find ourselves organizing well over 150,000 participants on the streets of downtown Tucson for a two-mile long human-powered procession that ends in the ceremonial burning of a large Urn filled with the hopes, offerings and wishes of the public for those who have passed.
Myriad altars, performers, installation art, and creatives of all kinds collaborate for almost half the year to prepare their offerings for 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 and ancestors.
Many Mouths One Stomach, 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 rejoicing of life.
With the continued cooperation of the City of Tucson, Tucson Police and Fire departments, local businesses, civic organizations, and participants like YOU — MMOS stewards the development of the parade to accommodate the growing number of participants in a healthy and harmonious way.