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Marlo Thomas

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St. Patrick's Day: Why I Love A Parade

Posted: 03/15/2012 7:40 am

We live on the park in New York where there seems to be a parade at least a few times a month for every possible nationality there is. One of the biggest is St. Patrick's Day, which of course thrills my husband. There's nobody named Donahue who doesn't love a St. Patrick's Day parade. Phil and I marched in the parade one year, green beer and all!

My brother and sister and I also marched in the Italian Parade to celebrate my mother's side of our family. It was very lively and fun, just like my mother. In fact, all the parades I've ever watched are joyful and exuberant celebrations and everyone who marches in them is very, very proud of their heritage.

While many parades are celebrations of national heritage, others celebrate holidays like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which thrills kids of all ages and has become a holiday tradition unto itself. Other parades have been inspired by a cause, like the Gay Pride Parade that began as a social statement and went on to become one of the most fun, colorful and outrageous parades of the year.

But regardless of the cause, the holiday or the nationality, it's the shared excitement and sense of belonging that gives a parade its meaning and energy. It's the feeling that we are a part of a larger whole, and that we can all celebrate one another. After all, you don't have to be Irish to enjoy the St. Patrick's Day parade (I'm Italian and Lebanese!) any more than you need to be gay to celebrate Pride.

A great parade is more than just a street party - it's an opportunity to come together and connect with others in a traditional, fun and joyful way. And in a world where people are increasingly divided by politics and isolated by technology, that's a good thing.

So, that's why I love a good parade, but it's not just the big ones that count! All around the world, people have been coming together and starting parades in celebration of some very unique and often hilarious themes. Take a look at our slideshow of some of the most wacky, colorful and kooky parades taking place today. I had no idea these were even out there!

The Mermaid Parade
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The Mermaid Parade celebrates the sand, the sea, the beginning of summer, and the history and mythology of Coney Island. Parade revelers dress as Mermaids, Neptunes, sea creatures, or the occasional wandering lighthouse and amusement ride. Besides the hand-made costumes, the parade features antique cars, marching bands, drill teams, and the odd yacht pulled on flatbed.
 

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