The Easter Parade in the USA
The Easter parade or processions also has roots in Europe many centuries old, but America took this tradition and made it the wonderful spectacle that it is today. In New York, the Easter Parade down Fifth Avenue is a tradition dating back to the 1800’s, when the city’s wealthy citizens went to Easter services in Fifth Avenue churches, and would parade around afterwards in their new spring dresses and hats. This became an attraction for New Yorkers. The film Easter Parade is famous mostly for the wonderful title song with its lyrics: “In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it/You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.”
As Christians look forward to celebrating this holiday, here in the U.S.A, we celebrate it with traditions established by immigrants from Europe and adapted in ways that are uniquely American! Easter is a religious holiday but many of the traditions are borrowed from pagan celebration marking the end of winter, the arrival of spring.
Our chocolate eggs were originally real eggs, dyed and painted on this day, a tradition dating back to the 13th Century in Europe. Eggs, of course, mean new life and symbolized the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. The bunny comes from Germans who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700’s and brought stories of a hare – called ‘Osterhase’ (Easter hare) – that laid colored eggs in the ‘nests’ that the children made for them. Like eggs, rabbits are associated with fertility because, as we all know, they produce little rabbits in huge numbers and often – hence the expression: “breed like rabbits”. Candy has largely replace real eggs, and so now, on Easter Sunday, we gift brightly colored wrapped chocolate eggs in baskets, hold Easter egg hunts and egg rolling competitions for children in the US, and many other countries. Easter Parades are held in many American cities, and in New Orleans, this has transformed into a massive “Mardi Gras” Carnival with parades and parties and jazz bands.
From all of us at TALK, Happy Easter to all those who celebrate, and to everyone else, enjoy the fun of the Easter Parades!