November 6, 2012
All Soul's Parade
The word parade may conjure up images of high school bands, politicians and floats, sunshine and blue skies. Unless you are having a parade to get the attention of the dead. In that case, you really do have to think outside of the box, or should I say, coffin. The All Souls Parade in Tucson was started 23 years ago by a woman grieving for her father. She was inspired by El Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which (just in case you don't live in the southwest) is a night for remembering our loved ones who have passed, and not with tears or flowers, but with food, dancing and candles. Fun even. You gotta appreciate that if only for the way it makes death less, well, less scary.
The grieving young woman wanted a creative way to share the love of her father and in her desire to be creative she has inspired the creativity of many others who parade down the streets of Tucson hoping to get the attention of dead relatives. For after all, don't we all wish we could speak again with deceased loved ones? One way to get them to notice us is to play dress up in the middle of the night. The best way to dress up in a way that dead people might like and, since dead people don't care about designer labels anymore, skeleton is the primary look of choice.
The parade was last Sunday, and I didn't dress up, or march down the street, but I did watch from the sidewalk with my friend Tracy and let me say I can think of worse ways to spend a beautiful November Arizona night.
What I enjoy so much about the parade is that there are no rules, no worries about offending, no political correctness, just a chance to expand the boundaries of our creativity. Even if you don't believe that our dearly departed notice us parading around in silly outfits, there's just something cool about a bunch of people getting together and not being afraid of death for one night. In the morning, we can all hide under the covers again.