Pasadena Rose Parade

Pasadena Rose Parade
The residents of Pasadena, California have a unique New Year tradition which is over a hundred years old. While Americans who live in the northern state shovel their driveways, the southern city of Pasadena hosts the annual Rose Parade, also known as the Tournament of Roses.

The Rose Parade is one of the most popular holiday parades in the United States. It was founded in 1890 by members of the city’s Valley Hunt Club. Since then the parade has been held in Pasadena every year as part of the New Year celebrations. Hundreds of thousands of people come to Pasadena every year to see more than 40 floats decorated with flowers. Millions more watch the television broadcast available in over 100 countries and territories.

The Rose Parade is traditionally held on New Year’s Day until it falls on a Sunday. In such a case, it is moved to Monday, January 2. The “Never on Sunday” policy was instituted in 1893. According to a local tradition, the parade founders made a deal with God. They promised to never hold the parade on a Sunday, and God will never let it rain on the parade. However, there’s a more practical explanation. The rule was instituted to avoid frightening horses tethered outside local churches while their owners attended the Sunday service.

Originally, the parade featured horse-drawn carriages decorated with flowers. Over the years, carriages were supplanted by elaborate floats. The Rose Parade floats are unique because the parade has a strict rule: all floats must be decorated with natural materials such as flowers, leaves, fruit, vegetables, nuts, bark, seeds, seaweeds. Neither artificial materials nor artificial coloring are allowed. Alongside floats, the Tournament of Roses Parade traditionally features about 20 equestrian units from all over the country and top marching bands.

Each parade has a theme picked by the President of the Tournament of Roses. Most of the floats participating in the parade are inspired by the theme, which however may be interpreted quite loosely. The President also selects the Grand Marshal. Some of the most famous Grand Marshals include Mary Pickford, Shirley Temple, Walt Disney, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

The Tournament of Roses has its own Queen and Royal Court. Each September, about a thousand young women (and a few young men) from the greater Pasadena area go through the selection process. Applicants must be at least 17 years old and not more than 21 years old. In addition to one Rose Queen, six Rose Princesses are selected to make up the Royal Court. The Queen and her court attend numerous events as ambassadors of the Rose Parade, ride on their own float during the event and preside over the Rose Bowl Game played by at the Rose Bowl stadium after the parade.

In 2021, the traditional parade was replaced with a TV special due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pasadena Rose Parade

Photo: Col 3:2




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