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Photos: All Souls Procession 2018

As a river of souls, thousands walked or rode bikes along Bonita Avenue parallel to the Santa Cruz River on Sunday night, many in costume or their faces painted to remember, as part of the 2018 All Souls Procession.

A Tucson tradition for 29 years, the procession began when artist Susan K. Johnson started the ceremonial walk to remember her late father. The event is a mixture of customs, including many aspects of the Mexican holiday El Dia De Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.

Since then the procession has grown by leaps and bounds. Last year, Many Mouths One Stomach, the art collective that organizes the event, estimated that as many as 100,000 people attended last year's gathering, participating in the walk or watching it pass through the streets.

Each year, many participants carry signs, photos, or other items of special significance marking the lives of those who have died.

As hundreds watched, the procession wound from Grande Avenue and Speedway to St. Mary's and curled along Bonita Avenue to Congress Street, where "Ghost Buskers" did acrobatics and collected money for the organization that puts on the annual event.

Finally, the procession stopped at the Mercado San Agustin where a non-religious ceremony marked the end.

Backed by thrumming music, fire dancers and drummers entertained the crowd — and then the urn, filled with messages for the dead written by those in attendance — was lit aflame to cheers. 

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Paul Ingram/

Thousands attended the 29th All Souls Procession in Tucson on Sunday night.