Hopping Down Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday

New York, N.Y. Crowds of people wearing vivid pastel colors, exquisitely adorned hats, and brilliant smiles paraded down Fifth Avenue during the annual New York Easter Parade on Easter Sunday, April 5. The event began in the 1870s as a spontaneous display of celebration, and has since grown to allure the attendance of millions of New Yorkers, neighbors, and visitors.

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Contrary to typical celebratory Easter egg hunts and egg painting, the New York Easter Parade adapted their own festivities. Parade attendees don themselves in the most lavish, elaborate, and festive hats they can find each year. Headpiece decorations ranged from rabbits to flowers to butterflies, and even balloons. However, all hats had one thing in common in that they all celebrated the essence of Easter and arrival of the spring season.

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The parade was conveniently celebrated near New York’s renowned St. Patrick’s Cathedral, since crowds were invited to stroll along Fifth Avenue from 49th Street to 57th Street between the hours of 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. The 135-year-old cathedral practically glistened with beauty, having recently received a thorough cleaning. According to nypost.com, “golf-ball-sized chunks of stone began to fall off the Gothic cathedral” in May 2012, resulting in a $25 million wash that took over two years to complete. Although the exterior has been pristinely cleansed, the interior awaits renovation.

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Mass and prayer services were held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral during various times of the day, yet the parade was not limited to Catholic attendees. The celebration attracted crowds of all religions, races, and ethnicities. Even dogs dressed in their finest attire were welcome to parade down the street alongside their owners. The event was open to anyone wanting to attend, and is essentially meant to commemorate Easter while simultaneously having a bit of fun. In this way, the parade is far less organized and structured than any other in New York City.

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Authorities prohibit traffic from 49th Street to 57th Street each year. During this time, New York City residents and visitors are invited to walk down Fifth Avenue in boisterous crowds. Any attire is acceptable, though extravagant hats and costumes are encouraged, and always a joy to witness.

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After over 145 years, the parade is still a time that instills excessive excitement into the hearts of New Yorkers. Citizens are always joyous during the holiday season, and look forward to the exuberant festivities every year.

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Alana Galloway
Alana Galloway is a freshman at the University of Michigan with a passion for journalism and photography. She was first recognized and published nationally at the age of 15, after writing an editorial that raised awareness about teen suicide and bullying. Since then, she has used her writing to tackle challenging social issues such as human trafficking and prison reform through several publications, including the Stewardship Report and the Huffington Post.

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