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Olden Lore

Thanksgiving Day Balloons Remind Us How Bizarre This Particular Tradition Is



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The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has been a part of my life since before I can remember. I’ve always sort of took for granted the unusual nature of this particular American tradition but when you take a step back, you realize how truly odd it is. Since 1924, the department store has enlisted folks to hold on for dear life to giant balloons of pop-culture characters as they pull them down the streets of Manhattan to the awe of (usually) freezing crowds. Having lived in the New York area my entire life, I’m actually kind of ashamed I’ve never gone to see the parade in person but every year, without fail, I watch on TV. Here’s some shots of the parade from yesteryear. Take a moment to consider whether our modern balloons are less, more, or equally bizarre.

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  • http://twitter.com/jade__dragon Heather

    The nose on the one balloon, yeesh! I feel like some of the balloons weren’t properly inflated this year. Pikachu’s ears were all limp. =(

    I lived in Queens till I was 10. We went in to see the parade in person once when I was pretty young. All I remember is being really cold and being too short to see much. And that my mom eventually took my brother and I into a cafe and got us hot cocoa, because it was so cold. I much prefer experiencing it through my tv.

  • http://twitter.com/jade__dragon Heather

    The nose on the one balloon, yeesh! I feel like some of the balloons weren’t properly inflated this year. Pikachu’s ears were all limp. =(

    I lived in Queens till I was 10. We went in to see the parade in person once when I was pretty young. All I remember is being really cold and being too short to see much. And that my mom eventually took my brother and I into a cafe and got us hot cocoa, because it was so cold. I much prefer experiencing it through my tv.

  • D. Potter

    It is a New York secret (shh, don’t tell anybody) that rehearsals for the parade are conducted at Herald Square the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving. (Without the balloons.)

    (I have never seen the parade in person either. And as my usual post is in a warm house where I have room to move about and can go to the bathroom whenever I need to, I have no intention of going in person.)