April 14, 2022

History Of the Easter Parade

The Easter Parade will always be PEAK easter fashion and my biggest inspiration when picking out my outfit for Easter Sunday. The tradition of the easter Parade began in 1870s in New York City, women wore their newest and most fashionable outfits and walked around fifth avenue. It was an after-church event for the elite. The churches of the area would decorate the outside with flowers so people would walk from church to church to see all of the flower displays. The event became the biggest fashion event! Word got around and it became famous across the United States. Everyone from poor to middle class would gather around the area to see the elite of New York in the latests fashions. Retailers saw the impact of the parade and began to use the parade as inspiration to sell their garments. Of course as popularity grew so did the flower displays. By the turn of the century easter was as important to retailers as Christmas. It was THE socialite event of the season. 

Of course this came with some criticism, some felt the parade was only a display of wealth and that it added too much value on possessions especially for such a “holy” day.  This further scrutinized during the Great Depression. With many people entering poverty there was many sweat shop workers who created artificial flowers for the occasion. This lead to some protestors walking in the parade wearing worn out clothing and holding up banners. One of them compared the cost of a years salary on welfare to the cost of a new gown for the easter parade. 

In 1933  song writer Irving Berlin wrote the music for the Broadway show called “as thousand cheer” which included the song Easter Parade, a song he worked on for 15 years. The song became a classic on Easter and later would be be the basis of the film Easter parade. Starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. 
By the 20th century the parade didn’t hold much religious association. And instead was seen more as a demonstration of prosperity. In 1955 the Saturday evening post said the easter parade was an incidental celebration of a religious holiday, but had turned into a reflection of the fact that a person was only as good as the clothes he or she is able to buy. The parade became less structured and began to lose popularity at this point. The Easter Parade is still celebrated to this day but it has become more of a costume event. Some people still wear their best clothes but there is more emphasis on being show stopping. 

While New York held the biggest Easter Parades, other cities across the unities stated held their own versions of the easter parade. Cities like Philadelphia, Boston, Coney Island and Atlantic cities. However Coney Island held it as more of an attraction where they hired 50 show girls in bathing suits to parade during the event so it turned into more of a carnival that drew in crowds. 
Even here in Toronto we host an easter Parade on Queen St, with a few bands and floats. Truthfully I didn’t know we held an easter parade… I feel like the media doesn’t promote it enough and I wish they did ! They obviously haven’t held one during the pandemic but I’ll be sure to attend next year if they host it! 

I wish people took more time to dress up more for special occasions,  people used to wear a new dress (Or outfit) on Easter. That tradition has slowly disappeared because people buy new clothes all the time. Historically, clothes were much more expensive and people had less of them. So wearing something new was a big thing. People of the past would be shocked by the massive closets some people have these days. Its funny, we have access to so many clothes yet people dress more casually. 

I may not be walking in the Easter Parade but I will be partaking in the tradition, I got a new Easter Bonnet this year and I am SO excited to share it with you. Its vintage from the 50s and perfect!  Keep your eyes opened for the outfit photos! 

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