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All Souls Procession & Finale Ceremony
November 6, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm
There is a LOT of logistical info here. Read it before you come to the Procession, as it will make the experience better for you and all other attendees. Our all-in-one guide to the Procession is here.
The Procession is an enormous community-created, non-commercial event to creatively honor and celebrate our dead. Open to all cultures, all traditions, all art forms, all people. Free to participate.
Everyone who attends is responsible for helping to create a safe, positive, celebratory, and respectful experience for themselves and everyone else. This guide is intended to help create that experience for yourself and the 100,000+ other people who will be in the streets with you. And please help us reach as many of those 100,000 people as we can by sharing this guide via social media and email!
For more on the intentions, spirit, history, and meanings of the Procession, you can look at our blog. For questions that are not answered here, you can look at our FAQs. You can also download the All Souls Mobile App for reference during the Procession. And, of course, the all-in-one guide.
DO Come and enjoy the experience in a way that works for you. Dress up, get out of your regular regimen and persona: make a mask, a puppet, an art installation, an altar, some way of honoring those who have gone before, those who we remember, honor, release, and embrace. Allow yourself to flow into an experience of real community, connecting and engaging with those around you, open to their stories, your emotions, and the possibility of connection.
DON’T Be high, drunk, or in anyone else’s space in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. This event should be safe to bring a newborn infant to or your dear aging grandmother. What allows the magic to happen is for everyone to feel safe. It is your job to create this kind of space. The moment we require help from police or any other authority to make sure that happens, we have lost something truly precious.
DO Recognize this amazing opportunity to interact with each other in the streets in ways we would like the rest of the world to experience. This does not mean an abandonment of responsibility: just the opposite. The freedom we can express during this event is EARNED through our responsibility.
Procession Gathering: Gateway Stage
Procession gathering starts at 4:00 PM on November 6 at 6th Ave & 7th Street. Line up along 7th Street toward 4th Avenue–NOT down 6th Avenue.
If you are planning to sit to watch the Procession, do not gather in this area—there are too many people for that to be comfortable. Choose somewhere further along the route.
Also note that the Procession is a participatory event. It is not designed for spectators. Rather, it is intended for people to participate by walking, rolling, strolling, or otherwise moving through the streets. When the Procession arrives at your location, it won’t be an orderly parade down the center of the street. It will be a peaceful mass of people, and you may not be able to see much from the side of the road.
If you are planning on walking, you may want to join in further along the route as well. There are a whole lot of people walking, and it can get very, very crowded at the gathering area.
Ushers in Usher sashes will be helping to guide the Procession. Please respect their requests of you—and help them out along the way! They are volunteers who are critical to allowing us to have a large public gathering like this.
Floats and Musical Groups
Floats, large groups, and musical groups, we suggest you to register ahead of time to get details on how and when to enter the Procession. Please sign up to receive registration information. Ushers will release you into the Procession as it passes to maintain optimal spacing.
Hungry Ghost Busking Troupe
The Procession is funded almost entirely by donations from individuals and small local businesses. Hungry Ghost—the official All Souls Street Busking Fundraising crew—will be busking at the gathering point, along the Procession, and at the Finale grounds. They’ll have pedicabs, bullhorns, and signs to identify them. Please donate whatever you can to help support the Procession–and better yet, please donate ahead of time online! People-powered. People-owned. Donate today and keep it that way!
Health & Safety
We walk starting at 6:00. The route is about 2 miles and we walk slowly. You will be walking in city streets and in an unfinished dirt lot. So wear comfy shoes, bring water and a flashlight, and plan for your needs accordingly. Consider starting further along the route if you need to.
Please keep an eye out for each other! Look out for floats, stilt walkers, and other people who will need a little extra space to be safe and help make sure that they get it. If you are carrying a puppet or sign or other object, make sure you keep control of it and don’t injure other people in the Procession.
No motorized vehicles (wheelchairs excepted) in the Procession. No open flame.
Downtown has very few public restrooms. There are port-a-potties at the gathering and Finale site along with a couple of other locations along the route and restrooms in the Mercado San Agustin.
If you are not walking in the Procession, but are watching from the sidewalk, please stay on the curb as the Procession approaches you. Once the Urn & taiko drums pass, feel free to step in and join the Procession.
If you need handicapped seating at the Finale ceremony, please see the Finale site map and description on our route map page.
The Urn is at the front of the Procession. Everyone is invited to make offerings, which will be burnt in the Finale. People typically write letters to the dead, names of loved ones, prayers, remembrances, hopes, or wishes, habits they are letting go of or initiating. Photos, trinkets, flowers, etc. are fine. Anything that isn’t toxic is cool to put into the Urn: paper is good; plastic is not. The combined energy of all of our wishes, prayers, and remembrances and the ritual burning of them is a defining part of the whole experience.
Please do not get between the Urn and the Procession’s police escort or crowd up around the Urn as you walk. The Urn Attendants need to be able to get to all the people along the street to collect their messages and remembrances.
If you want to physically bring your offerings, you can bring them to any of these locations
- To the Urn at The Procession of Little Angels, November 5, 3PM-7PM, Armory Park
- To the Urn at the gathering site, November 6, 4PM-6PM,
- To the Urn at the front of the Procession during the Procession, November 6
- To the 4th Avenue Pre-Party, November 6, 4PM-5PM, Haggerty Park
- To the Columbarium on the Finale Site Grounds, November 6, 4PM-7PM
You can also submit your offerings ahead of time electronically if you want to ensure that they get in.
The streetcar will be running the night of the Procession. We suggest that you purchase streetcar passes in advance to avoid the rush at the Procession.
Because of the overhead electrical lines, NO floats/puppets can be over 12 feet tall. And please be careful around the tracks and the streetcars. We may need to pause occasionally to accommodate the streetcar.
The Finale ceremony is a collaboration between close to 100 volunteer amateur performers & students from Tucson Circus Arts, the professionals from Flam Chen who lead the performance crews, our musical guest SORNE, the various technical companies and professionals who contribute time, expertise, and equipment, and dozens of backstage technical volunteers. It is a community-created artistic ceremony intended to explore themes of death and grief and to culminate in the release of all our shared hopes, loves, losses, prayers, messages, and remembrances during the burning of the Urn.
This year, the Finale Ceremony’s unifying theme is the Hunter and the Hunted. Everyone who attends the Procession is invited to explore the theme through your costuming, choices about whom you honor and how, creative projects, etc. (Or not, as you prefer!)
Danza Azteca Calpulli Tonantzin will be opening the Finale Ceremony again this year with a traditional Aztec ceremonial dance. Learn more about their ceremonial dance on our blog.
The Finale begins with the Domo, when floats, large & musical groups, and people with art pieces are invited to process across the stage. If that’s you, take a look at the route map and note that the yellow area is the place you want to be. Turn down Linda Ave to head for the Domo staging area and then follow the instructions from the Ushers. Do not enter this area unless you are a float or group planning to participate in the Domo. (Exceptions: handicapped-accessible & sponsor seating.)
The Finale Ceremony will not begin until after the back end of the Procession is approaching the Finale site. That is generally about 8:30 or 9:00 PM, but it is not a fixed time. Generally, once the Domo begins, the entire Finale Ceremony is about one hour long.
We will be gathering at 10AM Monday morning at the Finale site to clean up. If you can join us, please do! Many hands makes short work! Bring your own gloves. We always need more hands! And, even if you can’t join us Monday morning, please lend a hand by picking up trash as you leave the Finale site. Your efforts will be appreciated Monday morning!
After the Procession, please share your photos, your experience, and your stories. The Procession is produced by an all-volunteer organization that runs on donations, grants, and a lot of freely given labor and expertise. It’s a labor of love on our part to create this container for the community to fill with stories, love, and celebration. And we are always happy to hear about what you have created and experienced in the Procession.
We will see you in the streets. Love to you all!