670: Parade

A Thousand Things to Talk About
670: Parade

In one form or fashion, many people have likely been a part of a parade of some kind. Then again, that really depends on how you define “parade” — because there are many types. Quoting from Merriam-Webster’s breakdown of the topic:

The word parade itself has little that’s celebratory about it. It comes to English from French, where it traces back to a Middle French word meaning “to prepare.” And the original English-language parades did indeed require preparation. When the English started using the word parade in the mid-1600s it referred—as it did and does in French—to a pompous show, an exhibition. That meaning of the word doesn’t get much use these days, but another 17th century meaning is still in current use: parade as referring to the ceremonial formation of a body of troops before a superior officer. But the parade most of us are familiar with is the public procession kind. That meaning of parade also dates back to the 1600s, but evidence suggests that the earliest of the public procession parades were of the sober, non-celebratory variety.

These days, in the English language at least, when you hear parade you probably think of a more celebratory public procession. There’s big parades, such as annual Rose Bowl or Thanksgiving Day parades… and there’s small parades, such as a preschool’s Halloween costume parade. There’s even pet parades with plenty of cuteness on display.

No matter what the focus of your parading may be, in the United States at least, your right to parade is probably protected by the First Amendment. These questions often come up when a group or organization that isn’t loved by the community decides that they want to parade down the streets of an area. Quoting from an NBCnews report:

In 1977, a neo-Nazi organization chose to stage their parade in the suburban Chicago town of Skokie, which at the time was home to thousands of Holocaust survivors. Ultimately the Nazi group, represented by the ACLU, won at the Supreme Court level and was legally allowed to march under the first amendment.

The vast majority of parades, however, are more celebratory affairs. In New York City alone, there’s at least a few parades for every month of the year, and in small towns, the annual parade can often be the social event of the year. So…