New York is home to many things. The Yankees, the Knicks, the Statue of Liberty and the United Nation’s headquarters. But there’s also stuff only true New Yorkers know about it. One of them is the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival. And it’s usually all about top hats.
It’s an exhibition of colorful, decorated hats and cheerful activities to celebrate Easter Sunday. And the Easter top hat always take center stage. While they aren’t the traditional hats to wear with suits, there are certainly fun, festive and custom Easter hat creations. They almost look like they inspired the fascinators worn on the runway by the Victoria’s Secret Angels.
When and where is the Easter Bonnet Parade celebrated?
Although known as a movable feast that doesn’t occur on the same date, Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the spring equinox, between March 22 and April 25.
Being the day of Resurrection, Easter Sunday holds religious significance. So the Easter Hat Parade takes place outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan.
The first-ever celebration of the event in 1870 was described as an unplanned gathering of people at the cathedral. Many wore their Easter Sunday hats and fresh clothes while walking down nearby churches. Why wear an Easter hat though? Many believe that this custom tradition dates back to wearing new clothes after the Lent fasting, and wearing one’s “Sunday Best.”
Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival today
And here we are, a century and a half later after the lockdown, the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival is more vibrant than ever. Being in the springtime, gatherers are seen flaunting their flamboyant Easter hat creations.
The Easter Hat Parade has since evolved with time. With or without religious significance for its attendees, the festival welcomes everyone to partake in an inclusive social gathering.
Despite this though, the highlights of the main attractions have remained the same. This includes the outlandish wearing of an Easter Sunday hat paired with some of the most over-the-top outfits too.
With the Bonnet Festival having historic precedence, some of our favorite looks include those who wear period dresses with their adult Easter hat creations.
Pastel colors, Easter egg hunt, and cultural references
It’s not a complete Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival without the pastel-inspired eggs and decors all around. For some, the traditional palette has inspired their choice of color for a fun Easter top hat and outfit.
The light warmness emanating from the washed-out and pale color scheme during the spring brings glee to everyone.
The kids, on the other hand, have their own set of fun. Of course, the timeless tale of the Easter bunny laying the decorative eggs sets up the stage for those uber fun Easter egg hunts.
All in all, the cultural impact of the Easter Bonnet Parade is no small feat. It was the inspiration behind the song of the same title made famous by Irving Berlin in 1933. It also inspired the musical film Easter Parade, which starred Judy Garland.
The (Easter) Hat Stops Here
It’s no surprise that the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival had a grandiose return this year. The spirit of the festival remained strong despite its cancellation in 2020, and virtual celebration in 2021.
The Easter Hat Parade featured fun Easter top hats, Easter Sunday hats, and even Easter hats for men.
After all, the annual tradition is an event that signifies and symbolizes everything new—both figuratively and literally.