El Día de los Muertos, also known as All Soul’s Day, has roots in many Tumacácori Mission traditions including the customs of native residents, mission-era Jesuit and Franciscan priests, Spanish colonists, Mexican settlers, and even citizens of the United States arriving in the 19th century. On this holiday, Tumacácori National Historical Park offers the opportunity to remember deceased friends and loved ones, including those we have lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic, via two community installations.
In the first installation, the adobe walls of Tumacácori’s historic church will shelter a traditional Día de los Muertos altar to hold ofrendas (offerings) in memory of loved ones. From Saturday, October 17 through Monday, November 2, visitors are invited to leave photographs, gifts, tokens, messages, toys, or other traditional items as part of this community installation. Personal items left on the altar can be collected from the park following Día de los Muertos, through November 6.
For the second installation, seven-day candles, provided by the park, will be used to line the trails through the church and cemetery on el Día de los Muertos, November 2. The candles will be decorated with candle covers featuring the names and images of lost loved ones, submitted by friends, neighbors, and visitors from around the world. Anyone can submit a loved one to be honored, even if they cannot attend the event in person.
To submit a candle cover, email an image (portrait orientation, if possible) with the person’s name and a short message of up to 40 characters to e-mail us. The memorial will be printed and wrapped around a candle. A copy will be displayed over the altar. Email submissions will be accepted at any time through October 25, 2020. You are also welcome to decorate your own candle and deliver it to the park in person.
On the evening of Día de los Muertos, Monday, November 2, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., the park will offer free entrance for visitors to commemorate the holiday. Visitors will be able to see the personalized candles as they walk the candlelit trail through the church and cemetery. Face coverings and social distancing practices are requested, as recommended by the CDC. For more information, call the Tumacácori visitor center, 520-377-5060, or visit the park website, at nps.gov/tuma.