In early May, Kinmen celebrated the return of the City God to Kinmen. Confetti and spinning sedan chairs filled the narrow streets of Jincheng. Children dressed in elaborate costumes rode decorated carts through the streets while their parents beat drums and played trumpets. It's an event unique to Kinmen, but it was a parade similar to many around the world. Many cultures seem to share a love of processions and parades, and Taiwan and the U.S. are no different. Here is a rundown of a few influential parades that happen in America every year.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
On Thanksgiving Day, while families are frantically preparing a huge meal and welcoming their families, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade marches through New York City. As part of the tradition of New York, this parade is most famous for giant balloon floats, usually in the shapes of cartoon characters, making their way down the wide skyscraper corridors of the city.
The Rose Parade
The Rose Parade, in Pasadena, California, is held on New Year's Day. It serves as an introduction to the Rose Bowl, a huge American football game. The winter weather in California is very mild, so the parade floats are all covered in flowers, especially roses. Another feature is the teams of trained horses from all over the U.S., which are ridden with great skill and panache down Colorado Boulevard.
Mardi Gras is celebrated in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday" in French and is the celebration that happens right before a six-week period of fasting in accordance to Christian tradition. The parade is part of a city-wide social whirl that includes feasts, masquerades, and endless parties. People wear elaborate costumes and masks. Everything is colored green, yellow, and purple, which are the colors of Mardi Gras. Well-maintained vintage floats are manned by Carnival Krewes, and dancers come from all over the world to participate.
St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in different towns and cities all over the U.S., only with different scale. St. Patrick's Day celebrates Irish-American culture, with celebrations of all things Irish and all things green (the main color of the holiday). Most major cities have a St. Patrick's Day parade on or around March 17th. The most famous parade happens in Boston. During this holiday, people enjoy the sounds of bagpipes, and watch as fountains (and beer) are dyed a fluorescent green.
Each of these parades happens in a culturally distinct part of the U.S., and each has its own characteristics. Parades--whether in Kinmen or the U.S.--all have the same things in common--music, large gatherings of people, and an event worth celebrating.