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In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade….   — Irving Berlin

 

THE TRADITIONAL EASTER PARADE is not what it used to be, but traces of it still remain in major cities around the country.  The Easter Parade, as we know it, probably started in New York sometime in the late 19th century, when Easter signaled the beginning of Spring, with warming days and budding flowers filling everything with a young and  thrilling atmosphere. The delight of the Parade affected everyone, and soon it became an annual event in towns and villages throughout the country.

 

Families would literally dress up for Easter, putting on new finery and proudly heading off to church where they would simultaneously pray and posture.  It was always great fun, and the key to it all was the Easter Bonnet.  Ladies and little girls all wore new bonnets, festooned with flowers, as they paraded around the church environs. 

 

The really BIG Easter Parade, of course, was in New York City.  It started as an Easter Day stroll by Fifth Avenue churchgoers and continued to grow until it ran down Fifth Avenue from 57th to 49th Streets.  The Easter Parade’s important focus in New York was always on St. Thomas’ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  While almost anyone could (and did) participate in the Easter Parade, it was for many years mainly focused on the city’s wealthy and socially elite.   

 

WEARING AN “EASTER BONNET” IS STILL A SPECIAL SPRING TRADITION. HERE ARE SOME SPLENDID HATS TO CHOOSE FROM:

 

  • A ladies dress hat with shimmer.  In a variety of colors, this elegant hat is made for attention-getting!

 

 

 

  • Ladies church hat with high crown almost shouts out Easter Halleluiahs!  This is a wonderful dress chapeau!

 

 

 

  • Ladies wholesale sinamay hat with big bows and luxurious satin leaf shapes.  Stunning!

 

                                         Mystery and Excitement

 

THERE WAS OFTEN GREAT MYSTERY and excitement surrounding what one’s Easter Bonnet” (later referred to as an “Easter Hat”) looked like.  Many girls and ladies hid them away from the sight of friends until Easter morning, when they would come out with a great flourish.  As time passed, hats often got bigger and bigger.  More flowers were put on the hats.  Television cameras came out to record the spectacular variety of Easter Bonnets, and show them off to the world. 

 

As might be expected, hi-jinks accompanied the Parade’s popularity.  Commercialism snuck in, as women wore hats from particular milliners just for the cameras to see. Outrageous outfits began showing up n the Avenue, diluting its elitist manner.  Hairdressers attempted to compete with the Easter Bonnet popularity, bringing models with often weirdly colored hair to walk along the famous Fifth Avenue mile and hopefully gain them a moment of fame. Little by little, the parade lost its focus and began to run down.

 

But that’s not to say the Easter Parade is over!  Ladies still choose a special hat for Easter church services and, if anything, the Parade itself has mushroomed out, as communities around the country witness a flourish of feminine “dress-up” as part of the joyful rites of spring.

 

                                        The Creative Bonnet

 

AN INTERESTING DEVELOPMENT in recent years has been the habit of buying a basic hat and then decorating it with all manner of silk and real flowers, sequins, crystals, scarves, and other embellishments, making the modern “Easter Bonnet” a highly creative and individualistic work of art.

 

YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN EASTER CREATION, USING A LITTLE IMAGINATION AND SOME REAL MILLINERY FINERY.  HERE ARE SOME LOVELY HATS TO START WITH:

  • A super-wide brim ladies hat with black grosgrain trim.  This is a real find that you can wear “as is” or decorate with a choice of spring flowers and bows.

 

 

 

  • Pink, white, and lavender: This charming child’s hat comes in a choice of colors for Easter and is decorated with a tiny ribbon and shell to make her feel like a grown-up! 
Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, March 26th, 2009


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