Washington DC is one of the oldest cities in the U.S, it holds great culture as well as being the country’s Capital. It therefore has many traditions that it likes to uphold and, in typical American fashion, celebrate them.
This blog is all about Washington’s parades, pageants and cultural events that take place in the city every year and why and how they are celebrated. A great deal of these events is to celebrate other nations’ cultures that the immigrants that settled in the U.S.A brought along with them, expressed in their food, arts and music.
Chinese New Year
Held each year during January and February to celebrate the lunar and Chinese New Year, events take place all over the state of Washington, but particularly in the capital, including one of the most famous events, the annual parade in Washington DC’s large Chinatown. The parade is just one of the festivities celebrated and they are all mostly traditional, featuring typical Chinese dance, music, exhibitions of tai chi and other martial arts. Colorful lanterns are hung from doorways, with many food stalls erected to serve the hungry crowd, dishing out delicious Chinese food. One of the most famous events of Chinese New Year is the Lion Dancing and children and adults alike crowd into Chinatown to cheer this marvelous spectacle.
Francophonie Cultural Festival
One of the lesser known festivals in Washington during March and April is to celebrate the French speaking world that blossoms in the nation’s capital. It is more of a voyage into the cultural world of France and is an exploration to discover French art and performance. Many street artists perform, French films are shown, there are theatrical performances as well as children’s workshops, food tastings and a plethora of different styles of music concerts are also held.
St. Patrick’s Day
There is a huge Irish population in Washington DC, most of which have descended from generation to generation, and they all wish to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. Every 17th of March, which is the date of the great saint’s passing, Washington comes alive with the color green. There are many themed parades led by many public service workers that have relied on Irish workers for decades, including the police and fire departments. One of the biggest parties of the year is the National Shamrock Fest, expect great food and many pints of the Black Stuff (Stout) to celebrate with.
National Cherry Blossom Festival
Any nation that has time to celebrate nature and its beauty has to be applauded, and each year around March and April, visitors flock to their nation’s capital to welcome Spring and, in particular, the spectacular Cherry Blossom trees in full bloom. The event is to celebrate Japanese traditions, and the city holds over two hundred different cultural Japanese performances in recognition of the event.
Cinco de Mayo Festival
Each year in May is the annual celebration of Cinco de Mayo, and Washington DC comes alive with everything that is Mexican. There is a celebration of Mexican food, music, craft workshops, children’s arts, games and activities for the entire family. Although Cinco de Mayo is definitely Mexican, the day is also enjoyed as a Latin-American Family Reunion especially in the National Mall.