There wasn’t a single Easter bonnet at my church service yesterday. No Easter Parade. Not surprising. These traditions seem to have all but disappeared.

However, I’m guessing many of us have pictures like this buried in old photo albums.

Once upon a time, it was very important to have not only a new bonnet but a new dress for Easter Sunday too.

Why new clothes?

It’s said the early church converts wore white garments on Sunday to identify themselves with Christ. The white symbolized purity and newness of life. Following that tradition, people bought new clothes to wear on Easter. Often, at least in our family, that new dress was our only Sunday dress and worn only for church or special occasions.

Easter parades are a different story. Yes, Virginia, there was truly an Easter parade in New York City from St. Patrick’s Cathedral down Fifth Avenue from the 1870s through the 1950s.

That tradition is attributed to Irving Berlin’s song titled In Your Easter Bonnet from the 1948 movie Easter Parade

People, in new and fashionable clothing, strolled or rode in carriages down Fifth Avenue be seen.

The official parade’s popularity declined significantly as people came to view the frolic in finery as an ostentatious display of wealth and beauty. These days you won’t see a single person strolling down the Avenue on Easter Sunday.

I agree that Easter Parades are a little over the top, but tradition is important. Now that the little ones are grown, I miss hiding colorful eggs for them to find.

What Easter traditions does your family still share?