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October Festivals Display Color & Culture!

October Festivals Display Color & Culture!

We Tucsonans adore our colorful mix of cultures! The Fall calendar is chock full of festivity related our regional heritage. Of the many Tucson fall traditions -- Día de los Muertos (also called Day of the Dead) is one of our most magical.

Although the actual feast days occur after Halloween, on Nov. 1 (All Saints Day) and Nov. 2 (All Souls Day), Tucson's Day of the Dead celebrations begin in October and are a modern showcase of ancient Mexican and Native American cultures, Hispanic religious symbolism and festival. Tucsonans can participate in a variety of activities - from tours of nearby Mexican towns where families decorate gravesites with votive candles, cempazuchiles (marigolds), incense and special food exhibits that are part of a month-long tradition that honors ancestors and loved ones who are deceased.

A round-up of special Tucson treats this month:

* Head to our famous La Estrella Bakery ( to pick up colorful and delicious, unique pastries and pan de muertos breads that are part of the traditional celebration.
* Visit a local shrine to see wonderfully-decorated ofrendas (home altars). My favorite is found at La Pilita Museum, where a community altar annually is created by local children.
* With Tucson ablaze in marigolds and the arrival of monarch butterflies this month, another good trek is to Tohono Chul Park, to see nature in bloom and also to view an outstanding Día de los Muertos exhibit: The customs and traditions of this holiday are captured in a breathtaking exhibition of fine contemporary art by 39 southwest artists.

October is a glorious celebration of good foods, interesting cultures and colorful folk art. Enjoy this month-long festival of remembrance!

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