Revelers Participate in Annual Easter Day Parade on Fifth Avenue

The Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue was the annual mix of the truly devout and the whimsically demented.

From dogs wearing electric bunny ears to people with egg-decked hats on their heads, New York did Easter Sunday its own way — with people strolling around in creative costumes and headwear.

Inside St. Patrick's Cathedral, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan celebrated Mass for thousands of worshipers.

After years of upheaval linked to sex abuse and Vatican politics, "the Church, with a capital C, is undergoing renewal, repair, resurrection," said the cardinal, who recently returned from Rome and the election of Pope Francis. "I kind of think we're seeing it today in a particularly fresh and new way with our beloved new Holy Father."

Gloria Wood came from Greenwich, Conn., for the service she's attended the past dozen years.

"I come because it's fabulous — especially the chorus," said Wood, who works in publishing.

"But I love the rest of it, too," she said, glancing at some zany costumes that are part of the improvised parade.

Maureen Badgett of Brooklyn had marshmallow rabbits and chicks glued onto her giant hat.

"No way am I going to eat them — not with glue all over them!" she said.

A stretch of Fifth Avenue near the cathedral was closed to vehicle traffic to make way for the Easter Parade.

Isabel Margulies and her 4-year-old daughter, Alexia, passed through the cathedral, then stopped by a clown making bunny balloons.

"Easter is: You hide the eggs," proclaimed the little girl, whose family is both Christian and Jewish. She also celebrated Passover, which this year overlapped with Easter.

The parade tradition began as a 19th-century gathering of New York's social elite in their Easter best after church services — along with similar parades around the nation that took off after the Civil War. New York's version has become a semi-secular feast.

Irving Berlin wrote a song inspired by it, "Easter Parade," which later became the same name of a 1948 film starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire.

On Sunday, the joyous revelry was mixed with some dissent.

Gay activists stood in front of the cathedral protesting ecclesiastical opposition to same-sex marriage, which was the main issue before the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

New York's archbishop has repeatedly voiced his opposition, once saying same-sex couples are no more entitled to wed than he would be to marry his own mother.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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