Day of the Dead celebrations in Arizona are held not just with the Hispanic community in mind. The celebrations have attracted those from many cultures who are interested in honoring the dead and having a little bit of “muertos-inspired” fun.
What is Day of the Dead?
The Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos in Spanish, combined ancient Aztec ritual with the Catholic All Souls Day. The Aztecs, believing that death was just a continuance of life, ritualized the use of skulls and skeletons and celebrated death.
The Spanish wanted to convert the Aztec people to Catholicism and tried their best to eradicated the practice. They weren’t successful and, instead, opted for moving the Day of the Dead practices to the Catholic All Saints Day and All Souls Day, November 1st and 2nd. So Day of the Dead has become an early November holiday celebrated very closely to Halloween.
All Souls Procession in Tucson
In Tucson, Arizona the annual All Souls Procession has taken on a cult-like following. It is colorful, exciting and certainly worth a trip.
On November 6th, 2010 the event begins with the procession of Little Angels, a family event acknowledging and celebrating deceased loved ones from the perspective of the child.
November 7th is the All Souls Procession in central Tucson. The colorful procession leaves at approximately 6.p.m. You’ll see skeletons on stilts, creative Mexican-influenced costumes usually with a skull mask and much more frivolity.
Day of the Dead in Phoenix
At the Desert Botanical Garden you can experience Dia de los Muertos, in a festival setting. To enhance your experience and understanding of the Día de los Muertos Celebration, the Garden is offering special additions to the festival:
October 21 – November 2
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. / Daily
Cuisine and Culture of Día de los Muertos
Thursday / October 28 / 6 – 8 p.m.
Member: $45 / General Public: $55
Pre-registration required at dbg.org.
Afternoon Procession – La Procesión
Sunday / October 31 / 5 p.m.
The festivities of Día de los Muertos at the Garden will culminate with La Procesión. The ancient indigenous tradition of marching as a community to ancestral burial sites honors those who have gone before us.
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, October 30 and October 31, 2010
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: Desert Botanical Garden
1201 North Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85008
COST: Garden Admission Rates: $15.00 for adults, $13.50 for seniors, $7.50 for students (13-18 years-of-age and college with proper ID), $5.00 for children 3-12 years-of-age. Children under 3 years-of-age and Garden members are admitted free.
INFO: For additional information call 480-941-1225 or visit www.dbg.org.
More Day of the Dead Celebrations in Phoenix, Arizona
Day of the Dead on Your Own
In heavily Hispanic areas of Arizona you may see families attending to the graves of their loved ones during Dia de los Muertos. Most often the graves are cleaned of debris and the family gathers to reminisce, perhaps with a picnic.
In homes, and sometimes in public areas, you may see altars with offerings. The altars will have flowers, photographs and offerings to the deceased.
Desert Botanical Garden
All Souls Procession