I’ve never been to New York City’s Easter Parade. A stretch of Fifth Avenue is closed to vehicular traffic and what happens next is best described as a promenade. Years ago, it was a religious event, but it
isn’t today! Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday has been cited as the earliest precursor to modern Easter Day Parades and in the Middle Ages, walking church members would see the “stations of the cross.” Then, these special processions were a means to understanding their faith.
Easter processions or parades have been part of Christian culture since its earliest beginnings. Back in 1662 a farmer sold a cow so he could afford some new finery and a superstition in Tudor times held that unless a person had new homespun cloth available at Easter, moths and
crickets would eat the old goods. An old Irish adage stated “For Christmas, food and drink; for Easter, new clothes and by some it was even believed that if on Easter Sunday some part of one’s outfit was not new, one would not enjoy good luck during the year.”
Enthusiasts of the Easter Parade will tell you it is not something you watch but something you do. However many do go to watch it. In this casual society where Easter Bonnets are becoming harder to find they are in abundance at the parade and they range from elegant to outrageous. Remember the song, “Easter
Parade?” and the lyrics that goes like this: “In Your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it, You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.” The Easter Parade is nothing like New York City’s Thanksgiving Day
Parade, and some say the parade has become an echo of Halloween. There are no floats, but chocolate shops are open, church services are held and there are activities for kids at Central Park. Also, among the strollers are people’s pets.
My mother was a “romantic,” “a daydreamer” and as she sang the song, “Easter Parade” I always thought she visualized herself being there. On Easter, she thought it was important to send her children to church, looking festive and renewed
even if it was only having used clothing tailored to fit us and shoes highly polished. It wasn’t to show off our finery, because we didn’t have any. I believe she always wished she could be a part of it. I’m not the daydreamer she was, so I wouldn’t stroll in the parade, but I’d enjoy seeing it. Much more important to me is to celebrate the true meaning of Easter. The parade is mostly without religious significance as paraders’ only aim appears to be to impress others with their finery.
This Easter Day can and will pass without millions of people being aware that to miss the true meaning of it, leaves them exempt of knowing that because of Christ’s love for them He made a way for them to have their sins forgiven as He died for them on the cross. Many will miss the meaning of His Easter morn resurrection from the dead. Because He is a living Savior, and through belief in Him, we will join him in heaven someday. Now that’s worth a much greater celebration than the Easter Parade.