"In your Easter Bonnet,
with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade."
~Irving Berlin in reference to the famous NYC Easter Parade that wound down 5th Avenue form St. Patrick's Cathedral.
According to my research into Easter Bonnets, ladies purchased new and elaborate designs to wear for church services, in particular Easter services, taking the end of Lent as an opportunity to make a luxury purchase. Purchasing new clothes for Easter, has deep roots in European customs.
The famous NYC Easter Parade, began in the 1870's and became quite popular in the mid 20th century. In 1947, experts estimated the crowd to be nearly a million people, by 2008, it had decreased to only 30,000. Boston and Philadelphia are both know for holding Easter Parades, with strollers ranging from men and women to children and pets.
I can recall making Easter Bonnets in school, typically out of paper plates and crepe paper. . .of course that was when Easter was still celebrated in public schools. My mother was a teacher and she had a fabulous Easter bulletin board, full of bunnies, ducks and flowers she had cut out and colored with chalk.
These days, in our more casual society, Easter Bonnets are harder to find, as fewer and fewer women bother with the tradition. Outside of the bow hat, traditionally made for women at a bridal or baby shower, I can only think of three occasions you may see a "lady" in a fancy hat: The Kentucky Derby, a Tea Party and Easter.
How about you? Will you be donning an Easter Bonnet this year?
catch you soon -