While it won’t be an actual procession, this year’s annual New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival will take place virtually on Sunday, April 12. The festive event dates back to the 1870s but was, of course, canceled this year due to the coronavirus crisis. But the Fifth Avenue Association is taking it to Instagram, encouraging participants to “dress up in their most creative, home-crafted Easter outfits, strike a pose in quintessential Fifth Avenue style and participate in a virtual parade.”
Although restaurants remain shuttered and large gatherings are prohibited, Passover and Easter festivities are forging ahead. With help from local New York City restaurants, catering companies, and delicatessens, handmade holiday meals can be delivered to your doorstep, keeping family traditions alive from the safety of home. Ahead, find places for to-go Seder dinners and Easter brunch and baskets, from Eli’s Market to Economy Candy.
The NYC Easter Parade in 1904, via Wikimedia Commons
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.