Random Conversations

When Tradition Meets Today

When Tradition Meets Today

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An abundance of opportunities to spread joy

Spring is out in its full glory here in New York City. It’s taking a pause today for a bit of rain and cold, but it will return in yet another sign of its resilience.

Easter has just passed as I write, and the day was pure perfection. It started with my favorite sight of spring – Gandhi’s magnolias in peak bloom at Union Square. I watch it daily as it builds up to this glorious display. The sun was warm and bright, and its light danced with the flowers.

It was a perfect day for a parade.

The Easter Parade

I remember watching the old movie Easter Parade on TV with my mother when I was a child. My single memory of the film is a bit of the title song, “In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.” And the location: “On the avenue, Fifth Avenue….”

I have lived in NYC for over thirteen years and it was only recently that I remembered the parade. This was my year to experience it. I expected a parade, as one would, but it was more of a promenade with people sauntering up and down Fifth Avenue, spilling over onto the sidewalks.

There was such an array of styles – from fun to sublime. I was hatless, and not alone with a bare head. I was there to observe and appreciate rather than be seen, and I loved every minute.

Bites of Joy

I cherish the memory of joy in the air. People smiled at each other, laughed together, shared a myriad of experiences – pointing here and there along the avenue.

Last November, Neuroscientist Richard Sima published Want to Feel Happier? Try Snacking on Joy in the Washington Post, documenting the positive effect of small or quick joyful moments in our lives. He suggested finding and savoring little “bites” of joy – or “joy” snacks.

Sharing bites of joy is now part of my life, and the Easter Parade was filled with them. I sent my favorite photos of the day to friends near and far, enjoying their discovery as much as I enjoyed my own – maybe even more.

Moving Forward

I often write about having conversations with a city, and New York City delivered a master class. People from all over the world chose to be together and enjoy the feeling of delight and discovery on a beautiful spring day.

Kindness and respect drove all the interactions – always asking if a photo could be taken, always appreciating the people who dressed for the occasion and the beauty or fun of their designs. It was joyous!

For a few hours, everyone there was a New Yorker, coming together as one community. That is a feeling worth spreading.

Gandhi’s Garden, Union Square, NYC – Photo by the Author

Cathy Joseph is the author of the Random Conversations blog and is currently seeking representation for her book, The Art of Having a Delicious Conversation.

© 2022 Cathy Joseph. All rights reserved.

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