Mardi Gras | New Orleans

 

Mardi Gras is widely celebrated throughout Southern Louisiana, and New Orleans is no exception. Celebrations run for about two weeks and culminate on Shrove Tuesday, marking the start of the lent in Western Christian tradition on Ash Wednesday. There is a parade each day, weather permitting, major ones taking place over the last five dates of the Mardi Gras period. Parades and masquerade balls take over New Orleans for about a week, and you've got to be part of it! It’s all about music, alcohol, parades, and self-expression, everything prepared thoroughly months in advance.

New Orleans parades are led by krewes (social clubs) following the fixed schedule and route from year to year. The longest-running krewes are the Mistick Krewe of Comus, Rex, the Krewe of Proteus, and Knights of Momus. Modern “super krewes” like Krewe of Endymion and Krewe of Bacchus name celebrities as their marshals or kings. Major parades originate in Mid-City and Uptown districts of New Orleans and follow the route through St Charles Ave and Canal St. You will also see lots of tourists crowding on Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter.

Mardi Gras freezes town routine for a few days and turns all the eyes on New Orleans. Officially, there are no rules limiting self-expression or amounts of alcohol, no ladders and no private portable toilets are permitted during the festivities.

 

West Indian Day Parade | New York City

 

What a colourful and vivid celebration of the Caribbean culture in the multicultural metropolitan area! Labor Day Carnival, also labelled West Indian Day Parade (Carnival), is an annual celebration organized on Labor Day (the first Monday in September) at Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York City. The central event is the West Indian Day Parade that attracts from one to three million attendees. Parade’s route runs along Eastern Parkway. Here you will see great costumes and traditions of the Caribbean islands like Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Barbados, Jamaica, Grenada along with mainland Caribbean countries like Suriname, Guyana, and Belize. During the Parade, you will see revelers dressed up as political figures and celebrities, throwing powdered paint at each other, all this accompanied by steel drums and whistles. Can’t wait for the parade to start? Then join one of the pre-parade parties beginning before dawn with J’ouvert (meaning daybreak in French). Immerse yourself in the Caribbean culture.

 

National Memorial Day Parade | Washington, DC

 

The National Memorial Day Parade is held annually along Constitution Avenue in the nation’s capital—Washington, DC. Celebrations share the story of American honor and sacrifice across the generations. The parade is nation’s largest Memorial Day event. It draws the audience of hundreds of thousands to the National Mall to pay tribute to the ones who have served, are serving, and those who have made the sacrifice while in service to the American nation.

The National Memorial Day Parade shares American military history with spectators and participants. It is rooted in the tradition of Memorial Day parades taking place after the Civil War. Organisers create a family-friendly atmosphere and call attention to the original meaning of Memorial Day—honoring country’s fallen heroes. If you can’t make it there, no worries,—the parade is streamed live at YouTube and Military.com.

 

Chinese New Year Parade | San Francisco

 

Chinese community of San Francisco has hosted this mesmerizing street celebration since the 1860s. The Parade invites you to experience the biggest celebration of Chinese culture staged outside Asia. Dates vary every year based on Lunar Calendar. Each winter streets are filled with floats, ferocious lions, dazzling costumes, firecrackers, Miss Chinatown U.S.A. and her court, and dragons—a spectacle attended by about three million people from around the world. One of the crowd’s favourites is the “Gum Lung” (Golden Dragon) involving about 180 members of the “White Crane” martial arts group for the performance. The route runs along Market Street west to Geary Street, Union Square, Powell Street, Post Street to Columbus Avenue. Streets along the route are closed to traffic one hour before the parade until the Parade has passed and streets have been cleaned.

This parade was listed among the top 10 international parades by International Festivals & Events Association. Curious fact: Chinese New Year Parade is one of the few night illuminated parades in the US. This rich and vibrant celebration will warm your heart, rain or stars.

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Published by Asheer Raza