A brief his­tory:

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAN ZAK

Why pa­rades haven’t been tram­pled by the march of time.

A pa­rade is a ju­bi­la­tion and a drag, the best of hu­man­ity and the worst. A pa­rade is the feel­ing that we’re all part of one big glo­ri­ous fam­ily with more to unite us than divide us. It is also the feel­ing of a des­per­ate blad­der with­out a toi­let in sight. You’re ei­ther a pa­rade per­son, or you aren’t. Reba Pat­ter­son is a pa­rade per­son. She was wear­ing Caps pa­jama pants out in pub­lic Tues­day, stand­ing on a roar­ing ven­ti­la­tion plat­form to view the Stan­ley Cup pa­rade on Con­sti­tu­tion Av­enue. Last time she was able to do some­thing like this was 26 years ago, when the Red­skins won the Super Bowl. A pa­rade, for her, is a sweet re­lease of pent-up jol­lity.

“We need this,” said Pat­ter­son, 51, a diet tech­ni­cian at Vir­ginia’s Fort Belvoir. “I like be­ing around a lot of peo­ple. I used some an­nual leave to be out here, thank you very much. It’s a per­fect day! Elec­tric. Okay?” Okay. We live in pa­rade cen­tral, af­ter all. “Wash­ing­ton, D.C., is a place where we hold a pa­rade al­most ev­ery week­end,” D.C. Po­lice Chief Peter New­sham told WTOP this week. “This is some­thing we do and we do very well.”

In the span of 72 hours, Wash­ing­ton hosted two mam­moth pa­rades: on Satur­day the an­nual Pride

“A pa­rade is com­mu­nal. You’re phys­i­cally engaged, sen­so­ri­ally, in a way that you’re not when you’re typ­ing on the In­ter­net.” Jack Santino, pro­fes­sor of folk­lore and pop­u­lar cul­ture at Bowl­ing Green State Uni­ver­sity

Pa­rade, a riot of rain­bow; and then the first-ever Caps cham­pi­onship pa­rade, a red sea straight out of Ex­o­dus.

It’s work to watch a pa­rade. The stand­ing. The shift­ing. The sun­stroke.

It’s more work to be in a pa­rade.

“For me it’s an ad­ven­ture,” said Charles Roth, who walked back­wards for much of the Pride Pa­rade’s 1.5-mile route, as artis­tic di­rec­tor of D.C.’s Dif­fer­ent Drum­mers marching band. “A lot of peo­ple don’t think of marching band as a sport. But when you put the pieces to­gether — marching tech­nique to keep a solid sound, read­ing mu­sic at the same time, hav­ing to think of breath­ing and air sup­port — that’s not an easy en­deavor.”

Three thou­sand years ago, priests in Egypt lugged stat­ues of deities through the streets of Thebes dur­ing a yearly fes­ti­val honor­ing the god­dess Opet.

This Satur­day at Coney Is­land, crowds of rev­el­ers will dress up as sea crea­tures and process along Surf Av­enue to the beach.

“When I made up the name ‘Mer­maid Pa­rade’ — even be­fore the first pa­rade — peo­ple were laugh­ing at the ab­sur­dity that mer­maids can’t march,” said Dick Zi­gun, who founded the Mer­maid Pa­rade in 1984 to help firm up the iden­tity of Coney Is­land. “They don’t have feet. And to me that’s a good sign that I was onto some­thing.”

The first known us­age of the word “pa­rade” in print was around 1656, the same year that “bloated,” “misog­yny” and “starstud­ded” en­tered the lex­i­con. The word ap­pears in some in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the Book of Isa­iah (“They pa­rade their sin like Sodom . . .”) but is not read­ily found in Shake­speare, where “pro­ces­sion” and “march” pop up in­stead.

In 1852, nearly 6,000 fire­men walked along Arch Street in Philadel­phia, paused at one point to put out a sta­ble fire, and then re­sumed their pa­rade. In 1918, the city held a pa­rade to ad­ver­tise war bonds, and the close prox­im­ity of sneezy spec­ta­tors ac­cel­er­ated an out­break of the deadly Span­ish flu.

The first ticker-tape pa­rade in New York hap­pened in 1886, for the ded­i­ca­tion of the Statue of Lib­erty, and there have been more than 200 since — to herald Teddy Roo­sevelt’s re­turn from an African sa­fari in 1910, to wel­come the shah of Iran in 1949 and to con­grat­u­late Althea Gib­son for win­ning Wim­ble­don in 1957.

As 2.5 tons of pa­per floated down from sky­scrapers dur­ing a pa­rade af­ter the 1969 moon land­ing, as­tro­naut Neil Arm­strong saw a spec­ta­tor hold­ing a sign he would re­mem­ber: “Through you we touched the moon.”

“A pa­rade is com­mu­nal,” says Jack Santino, a pro­fes­sor of folk­lore and pop­u­lar cul­ture at Bowl­ing Green State Uni­ver­sity. “You’re phys­i­cally engaged, sen­so­ri­ally, in a way that you’re not when you’re typ­ing on the In­ter­net. It also gives one a sense that they’re ac­tive rather than pas­sive. You’re mak­ing a state­ment. You’re not just watch­ing the Cap­i­tals game; you’re out there sup­port­ing them phys­i­cally. And you’re con­struct­ing iden­tity. ‘ I am Ir­ish Amer­i­can be­cause here I am marching in this pa­rade with my fel­low Ir­ish Amer­i­cans on St. Pa­trick’s Day.’ ”

The Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Pa­rade be­gan in 1924 be­cause the com­pany’s im­mi­grant em­ploy­ees wanted to cel­e­brate their new home. Now it is a pa­rade of cor­po­rate ad­ver­tis­ing and crosspro­mo­tional flim­flam.

“Most pa­rades still cel­e­brate a war vic­tory, an eth­nic or re­li­gious hol­i­day, or else they have a com­mer­cial pur­pose — like want­ing you to go buy toys for Christ­mas presents,” says Zi­gun, the Mer­maid Pa­rade founder. “So the idea of a pa­rade that ex­ists just for the de­light of parad­ing is still fairly unique.”

It’s enough to make you shop on­line for a seashell bra.

The pres­i­dent is a pa­rade per­son. He was a grand marshal in the Salute to Is­rael Pa­rade in New York in 2004. He wore a sash with gold let­ter­ing.

“NYC should hold a pa­rade for re­turn­ing Iraq and Afghanistan vet­er­ans,” he tweeted in 2011.

In 2014 the Trump ho­tel in New York ad­ver­tised deals to view the Macy’s pa­rade from Cen­tral Park West, start­ing at $1,400 a night.

Two months be­fore Donald Trump’s elec­tion, a cavalry of se­nior cit­i­zens in golf carts pa­raded in his honor through the Vil­lages, a gar­gat­uan re­tire­ment com­mu­nity in Florida.

Pa­tri­o­tism “is one of the great­est as­sets” of the com­mu­nity, a woman in a flag vest told Fox News, and “it’s also a grand ex­cuse for a pa­rade.”

Last year Trump was en­chanted by the Bastille Day pa­rade in Paris — where French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron mo­tored around the Arc de Tri­om­phe in an army ve­hi­cle es­corted by a herd of horses — and called it one of the great­est pa­rades he’s ever seen.

“We’re go­ing to have to try to top it,” he said.

Trump’s pa­rade hasn’t hap­pened yet. There is talk of plan­ning it around Veteran’s Day. There re­main con­cerns that 70ton tanks would crack Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue.

On Sun­day, New York had its Na­tional Puerto Ri­can Day Pa­rade, though cur­rent events tilted it to­ward a march — which is a pa­rade plus pol­i­tics and anger. The route al­lowed marchers to flip the bird at Trump Tower.

“The pa­rade should be a cel­e­bra­tion,” one woman told the New York Times. “Not a protest.”

“This pa­rade needs to be fu­ri­ous,” said an­other, not “happy.”

Can a pa­rade be a march? Let’s say no. It also can­not be a rally, be­cause a rally doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily move. A pa­rade needs some­where to go. A pa­rade with­out move­ment is just a mob. There was a rea­son that the huge thing on Jan. 21, 2017, wasn’t called the Women’s Pa­rade. The white na­tion­al­ists in Char­lottesville? Not a pa­rade, even with the cute tiki torches and the role-play cos­tum­ing.

Pa­rades can get ugly. Sev­eral years ago, dur­ing a Car­ni­val pa­rade in Haiti, 16 peo­ple were electrocuted when a float came into con­tact with a power line. In 2004, an ac­tor play­ing Pluto was run over by a float at Dis­ney World.

“We think very few guests saw it, if any,” a Dis­ney spokesman told the Or­lando Sen­tinel.

Even ab­sent death, a pa­rade al­ways de­volves. It turns into sun­burns and im­pa­tience. It be­comes lit­ter. In 1991, af­ter Pa­triot mis­siles were pa­raded down Con­sti­tu­tion Av­enue to cel­e­brate the end of Op­er­a­tion Desert Storm, the crowd of 800,000 left be­hind 1.2 mil­lion pounds of trash, in­clud­ing at least one toupee.

On Satur­day, three hours into the Pride Pa­rade on Satur­day, 14th Street NW was strewn with ad­ver­tise­ments for Tito’s vodka — thou­sands of tiny pa­per squares im­printed with #loveti­tos, but it was hard to do so, at that hour, when al­co­hol had seeped from the blood­stream to the brain.

And as soon as the Stan­ley Cup passed 12th Street NW at 12:26 p.m. Tues­day, an­other pa­rade be­gan: The quick-footed re­treat of spec­ta­tors, mov­ing en masse and in uni­son. To work. To sit. To lunch. To pee.


The Cap­i­tal Pride Pa­rade moves along 17th Street NW on Satur­day.


Loiza Re­nace drum­mers and dancers par­tic­i­pate in New York’s Puerto Ri­can Day Pa­rade on Sun­day.


Spec­ta­tors line the route of Satur­day’s Cap­i­tal Pride Pa­rade as it moves along P and 17th streets NW.

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