WHAT DOES THE DAY-of-the-DEAD MEAN to YOU ?
“It’s for people who have died and we are celebrating the death of them” says 7-year old Paloma Handro Sunday night at Tucson’s 2011 Day-of-the-Dead Celebration this year Paloma was thinking of her friend’s dad who died of cancer and wants to everyone to remember to “always be nice to people because you never know when they may die…”
“I’m missing my mother tonight” says Irma Lopez, “Refugio Rosales, she’s been gone for eight years now! She taught us special traditions about celebrating those who have gone ahead. “Our family would sit among the headstones, eating and drinking enjoying and remembering the music and earthly pleasures our ancestors loved and mom would tell us stories about my uncles, grandparents and father.” “It was a never-ending lesson in Life and Love!” Then she would make us promise to clean the graves each year and to celebrate our families Day of the Dead. “You have to do this!” she would say, “I won’t be here, so you have to carry on our families tradition.” This memorial takes place each year at the downtown cemetery in Agua Prieta, Sonora and tonight Irma has brought her family to the Tucson’s 2011 Day of the Dead Procession to carry on the same tradition and to build new ones. Tonight Irma, her daughters and grandchildren stand along Congress Avenue and watch hundreds of people walking-by covered with photos of loved ones, shrines so large they are mounted on wheels.
Some pay homage to friends, neighbors and relatives, even the family dog. One small terrier wore wings, each wing had a photo of puppies who had come before and left a knot in the heart.The sounds of drums and bagpipes filled 4th Avenue – along with the smells of burning incense – as the procession began.
The University of Arizona Marching Band turned out as skeletons a hundred strong, many organizations who have adopted the twenty year old event have marching groups and floats. The Tucson’s Gay alliance had a red banner maybe 200 feet long bearing the names of Aids deaths and counseled the crowd to “Be honest about your status! “Get tested! It’s the only way we will stop Aids!”
Made for Flight chronicled 116 Transgender Deaths world-wide in 2011, Humane Borders journals lives lost in the desert due to lame immigration laws and others marched to “Kill Hate”. On the walls of building, slide shows of beloved family pictures, past and present each representing someones remembrance…!
This year’s grand finale was held west of the Santa Cruz in the Rio Neuvo construction site featuring a 75′ crane that lifted the giant urn onto position and took the man-sized fire ants aloft. This year the crowd easily moved about and while vision from the viewing area was still limited it was safer, fewer flaming embers and the huge 20,000 person crowd disappeared without incident.
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Entry way for spectators to enter the performance arena west of downtown.Lights sweep the arena as the Tucson Day of the Dead Celebration Begins
FOR A MULTIPLE-MEDIA SLIDE SHOW
OF THE TUCSON DAY OF THE DEAD PROCESSION
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