In its absence, has it been missed?
The final months of the year brings with it traditions, both personal and communal.
Some families—extended and by choice—gather together en masse with buckets or bowls of masa and assorted meats and fillings for their annual tamalada. The evening’s primary purpose is to make tamales though in many settings it’s more of an excuse to come together eat, drink and be merry while catching each other up on the latest gossip.
Other families unite for a massive dough-mixing and cookie-baking and decorating extravaganza punctuated by a shopping spree and tasting party at the end of the day.
Publicly, municipalities decorate street lamps and buildings with festive colors, host festivals or parades.
The public promenade has a long history, dating back to the earliest days when its main purpose was to focus attention—and maybe even a instill a bit of awe—on the religious and political leadership in charge with displays of power and strength, creating an air of ceremony and pomp that paid tribute to society’s elite and reminded everyone else of their place.
Over time the standards loosened and we found ourselves gathering in droves to watch people hoist inflated balloons shaped as cartoon characters over their heads in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and floats made of flowers and botanicals in the annual Rose Bowl parade.
And bands. There are usually bands of the high school marching variety making their way down a thoroughfare beating drums, blowing horns and keeping time for the banner wavers and dancers marching along.
In Chula Vista the early days of December usually saw the arrival of the holiday parade, at one time once known as the Starlight Yule parade.
But even before the pandemic wiped out the parade it was having trouble staying afloat having gone dark for a time because of financial constraints. It returned briefly but then public health considerations put a stop to the procession.
This year the parade once again has been scrapped for financial and time considerations. It’s been a few years now. Does anyone still love a parade or has its time come and gone? Has it passed us by?