Sunday, June 23, 2013

Culture 2013: Mermaids Invade New York City

(Drivebycuriosity) - Many cultures traditionally celebrate midsummer (summer solstice) with festivals and rituals  of religion or fertility (wikipedia ). Yesterday New York City had her own pagan fertility festival: "The Mermaid Parade".

Since 1983 this event has been happening on Coney Island, a beach amusement park on New York´s Atlantic coast. The show is related to legendary aquatic creatures, called mermaid (wikipedia).

The annual spectacle is New York´s version of Mardi Gras and allows many participants and spectators to dress (or to undress) more liberally than you would usually see in uptight America. Coney Island`s "Mermaid Parade" is an occasion to have fun, to see and to be seen.

This year´s event had been endangered by the damages caused by "Superstorm Sandy" that had destroyed some of the parade´s path. But thanks to a Kickstarter action, the tradition had her way. Some higher  instance was also generous and granted gorgeous weather - lots of sun, but not too hot, thanks to a fresh breeze from the adjacent beach front.

I indulged in the parade. There were a lot of groups, some playing music and dnacing.  Some displayed political issues, others just had fun. You could see many strange creatures, even some invasive species form Mars.

Some marchers had very elaborate costumes, others awed their audience with their generously displayed skin, often flamboyantly painted.

Being a German, I was surprised how civilized the people behaved. Contrary to the sober & disciplined American audience many people at Cologne`s "Rosenmontagszug" at Carnival - and similar events -  drink a lot of beer and you can see a lot of drunks, especially alcoholized youth. The "Mermaid Parade" therefore was much more relaxed and playful than comparable German events. Bravo Americans!

Thanks a lot to organizers and police who guaranteed that it stayed a peaceful and fun event!

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