As more people break from traditional religious affiliations, certain holidays become less and less significant. Perhaps the best example of that modern-day cultural shift is Easter. Technically the highest holy day of the year for Christians, the holiday has become one of the most overlooked. Up until the 1960s, Easter Sunday was a 40-day ritual, complete with fasting on Fridays, attending Palm Sunday services, and putting together the perfect pastel outfit to go with one’s Easter bonnet.
In New York City, the tradition hasn’t all been lost, as the annual Easter Parade still kicks off at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and marches up Fifth Avenue to 55th Street every year. In addition to its traditional affiliations, the parade also welcomes the Bonnet Festival, where participants show off their wackiest head gear. With just a few days left until Easter Sunday, we decided to take a look back at the history of the parade, showcasing some great historic images of the tradition.