Chakra Announcements

Tucson Devotees Chant in Day of the Dead Parade

by Bhaktin Tracy

Posted November 16, 2006

In a parade dedicated to worshiping ghosts and spirits, the merciful ray of bhakti shone brightly through the darkness. The Day of the Dead parade is one of the largest public gatherings in Tucson. It stems from the Mexican holiday in which ghosts and spirits are allowed this one day of the year to walk amongst the living. It is a time to celebrate loved ones who have passed on, and to realize that death is a part of life. For the devotees of the Hare Krishna Temple, however, participating in the parade was a wonderful opportunity to show the eternality of the soul and to spread the Holy Name to every eager ear.

In keeping with the theme, the devotees dressed up in "ghoulish" costumes - skeletons with kartals and an "Ajamila" in a cage. They were led by a trident-wielding Shiva, who natrually was following an exuberant Krishna. As Krishna passed out prasadam and mantra cards, the rest of the group sang kirtan led by Urajasvat Prabhu. All throughout the hour and a half parade, folks were cheering, smiling, and even coming up to dance with the devotees. A few members of the parade also joined to add in their instruments - small finger symbols, a bongo and a snare drum. Meanwhile, a friend of the temple had constructed a float depicting the changing bodies display, so those whose hearts had softened would be able to grasp a visual depiction for our philosophy.

As the parade came to an end, the devotees - exhausted and blissful - made their way back to the temple to dine on the Sunday feast prasad. Their hearts filled with ecstasy knowing that while on the last day of Kartik most would celebrate spirits, the fortunate few were able to hear the chanting of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.