Sunday, November 08, 2009

Tucson Day of the Dead parade

In my seventh November in Tucson, I finally made it to a Day of the Dead/All Soul's parade. A few impressions:
  • I was expecting it to be much more Mexican or Mexican-American and much more centered on honoring the departed. The Downtown/Fourth Avenue crowd, which often looks a little skeletal and sunken-eyed even without masks and makeup, was very represented. It appeared that there were as many parading just to parade as there were parading for holiday-specific reasons. There's nothing wrong with that, but again, not what I was expecting.
  • It's clear that some worked on costumes for weeks or months.

  • If I had to compare the parade with anything, it would be the carnival parades in New Orleans, specifically the neighborhood/club krewes and half-formal "Krewe de Vieux" march that come out on Mardi Gras day. It has the same autochthonous and non-hierarchical structure.
  • If you have a tiny camera with a short lens and can't get a shot from where you're standing, please don't run out into the parade to snap pictures; you mess things up for the rest of us. Use your zoom or crop.
  • The parade is used to honor not just relatives and friends but other things that have died, sometimes as protest. Drug war victims and "Macho B" the unnecessarily-killed jaguar both were represented--Macho B both by a lone marcher and a group of at least 30. Also mourned was the better of the two local papers, the Tucson Citizen.

No comments: