Parad­ing tra­di­tion

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING -

THE an­nual Amer­i­can cel­e­bra­tion of Thanks­giv­ing might have be­gun as a lit­eral “giv­ing of thanks” to Na­tive Amer­i­can In­di­ans who helped the first English colony set­tle into the New World in 1621 but it’s cer­tainly moved a long way away from its ori­gins.

Nowa­days, it’s marked on the fourth Thurs­day in November and known more for overindul­gent, stu­por-in­duc­ing turkey lunches, Amer­i­can foot­ball and, of course, the Macy’s pa­rade in New York City.

The now huge af­fair that re­quires al­most a year of preparation be­gan in 1924 as a small pa­rade or­gan­ised by the depart­ment store’s em­ploy­ees fea­tur­ing an­i­mals bor­rowed from the Cen­tral Park Zoo. It was such a suc­cess – half a mil­lion peo­ple watched, and this was in the days be­fore TV ad­ver­tis­ing! – that Macy’s made it an an­nual af­fair.

The first gi­ant in­flated fig­ure was in­tro­duced in 1927; Felix the car­toon cat was the pop­u­lar cul­ture char­ac­ter cho­sen for the hon­our. Orig­i­nally filled with air, the balloons are now filled with he­lium for safety rea­sons.

The pa­rade was tele­vised for the first time in 1946 and be­came a na­tional broad­cast in 1947. Nowa­days, 3.5 mil­lion peo­ple flock to the streets of Man­hat­tan to see the pa­rade in per­son and 50 mil­lion peo­ple watch it on tele­vi­sion.

reuters

celebri­ties are tra­di­tion­ally in­vited to ride on pa­rade floats, though it’s any­one’s guess who will ap­pear each year. among the celebs this year was Miss amer­ica nina davu­luri (right) and ... rock bank the Goo Goo dolls (be­low)? How do you make the cut to get in­vited onto a float? We have no idea....

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