NYC’s Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival has changed a lot through the years. In the 1850′ it was more religious than anything else but gradually the custom of elaborate displays of flowers and beautiful clothes worn by the congregations of the Gothic churches along Fifth Ave became established.
Apart from parishioners parading after Church to show off their finery, crowds started to line 5th AVe to see the beautiful clothes and hats worn by the wealthy women and men and in that way pick up on fashion trends.
The twin themes of a splendid display of fashion and religious observance became an established tradition and dominated right up until the 1950′s In 1948 the romance of the whole thing was summed up in the famed Judy Garland and Fred AStaire movie Easter Parade.
After then with less emphasis on the religious nature of Easter Sunday and more on the commercial possibilities of Easter the whole energy of the Easter Parade gradually changed until it was completely unstructured and just a kind of spontaneous festival where people wore costumes rather than fine clothes and the hats became a fun expression of all that is outrageous and expressive.
If you go down to Fifth Ave on March 31 you’ll have a good time. There will be crowds, lots of fun costumes especially on children and people do still dress up but there’s an out of the ‘dress up box’ quality to it all which is refreshing and spontaneous but light years from the solemnity and grandeur of the 19th Century.
People sometimes compare it to Halloween dress ups but it really has a different quality of froth and frivolity. COMMENT on todays Easter Parade and LIKE seeing people dress up and have fun.