Sunday, January 1, 2017


My tradition for New Year's Day is to snuggle up with a hot cup of tea in front of the TV and watch the Rose Parade. It is how I ease into the New Year given the parade is filled with beautiful flowers, whimsical floats, and lots of horses.

So I was bummed to find out that the parade has been moved to January 2, 2017 this year, until I found out why. I thought the parade had been held in Pasadena every New Year's Day since 1890. But, I was wrong. It is held every New Year's Day EXCEPT when January 1 falls on a Sunday. Then it is held on Monday, January 2. According to Wikepedia, this exception was instituted in 1893 since organizers did not wish to disturb horses hitched outside Sunday church services. Being a sucker for tradition, I now think it is kind of cool that we still honor this exception even though, I bet, no one in Pasadena is driving a horse and carriage to church these days. But I am sure there are people happy to be able to walk or drive to church on Sunday without having to battle clogged roads and people sleeping on the sidewalks, lol.

Considering that the Tournament of Roses Parade was started by the Valley Hunt Club, the club was likely more sensitive to the effect on horses. It probably also explains why there are so many equestrian groups still parading down the streets of Pasadena.

And the Rose Parade, created to celebrate Pasadena's mild weather, blooming flowers, and ripening oranges during the winter season, did not originally include football in its festivities. But it did include other types of tournaments (hence the name evolving into the Tournament of Roses Parade) such as foot races, polo matches, ostrich races, bronco busting, and once a race between a camel and an elephant. (The elephant won!) There were even chariot races as depicted in this photo from either 1908 or 1911.

The first time a football game became part of the festivities was in 1902 although the next game was not played until New Year's Day 1916 and then annually on New Year's Day ever since (except when it was a BCS title game).

In the 1890's flowers decorated horse drawn carriages until later years when designated floats were built. The Valley Hunt Club still enters a flower-decorated carriage. As you may know, "it is a rule of the parade that all surfaces of the float framework must be covered in natural materials (such as flowers, plants, seaweeds, seeds, bark, vegetables, or nuts)" per Wikipedia and the parade has its own Style guide. There are 24 different awards given out for floats, from the Judges' Special Trophy for most spectacular in showmanship and dramatic impact (Los Angeles Lakers' Every Second is an Adventure won in 2016), to the Fantasy Trophy for most outstanding display of fantasy and imagination (Trader's Joe Fearless Flyer won in 2016)

The Tournament of Roses Parade also attracts the top marching bands from all over the word, many coming from the nation's high schools.

Spectators at the parade number over 700,000. You can purchase reserved grandstand seating or you can opt for curbside viewing on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pasadena allows occupancy of curbside space along the route beginning at noon on the day before the parade.

Me, I'll be watching the 128th Rose Parade on TV tomorrow January 2, 2017 (11 a.m. EST), and tweeting about my favorites among the 40 float entries! Are you going to watch?
Happy New Year! Happy Rose Parade!

Follow me on Twitter and we'll tweet together: 

Photos courtesy of Wikepedia/Public Domain

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