Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual event held on Thanksgiving Day which falls annually on every fourth Thursday of November in the United States which means this year it is on November 24th. 

It is one of the biggest and most anticipated event which takes place during the celebrations of the Thanksgiving Day. This three-hour parade is held in Manhattan, ending outside Macy’s Herald Square in New York City and it is presented by US department store chain Macy’s.  

Each year the floats become bigger and more elaborate with thousands of volunteers joining in to make this holiday celebration enjoyable for all those watching from home or coming to attend the parade. 

Event Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Date November 24, 2022
Day Thursday
Significance The day marks the celebration of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Observed by United States

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade History: 

The origins of this parade starts with Rowland Hussey Macy who was a businessman born in 1822 in Massachusetts. In 1843, Rowland Macy opened four dry goods stores to serve the mill industry. He failed to launch his business and, by 1858, moved to New York City, renaming his store “R.H. Macy Dry Goods”. That store saw great success, but Macy didn’t live long enough to see his vision actualized. Macy died in 1877 and ownership of the company eventually went to his partners, brothers Isidor and Nathan Straus. 

In 1902 came a great business decision when the flagship store was moved to Herald Square. Then in 1924, store employees marched to Macy’s Herald Square, the flagship store on 34th Street, dressed in vibrant costumes. There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. At the end of that first parade, Santa Claus was welcomed into Herald Square. At this first parade, Santa was enthroned on the Macy’s balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then crowned “King of the Kiddies”. 

With an audience of over 250,000 people, the parade was such a success that Macy’s declared it would become an annual event, despite media reports only barely covering the first parade. The Macy’s parade was enough of a success to push Ragamuffin Day, the typical children’s Thanksgiving Day activity from 1870 into the 1920s, into obscurity. Ragamuffin Day featured children going around and performing a primitive version of trick-or-treating, a practice that by the 1920s had come to annoy most adults. Eventually the ragamuffin parade ended with the last parade taking place in 1956 at New York City. 

The parade took shape during the Roaring ’20s, a time of prosperity and pleasure. It was staged by Macy’s employees, many of whom emigrated to America from Europe and longed to stage a celebration similar to the ones in their countries. In 1927, the gigantic balloons that are now the signature element of the parade made their first appearance with the help of helium. The balloons replaced the zoo animals that were frightening to some children, and the first balloons included cartoon characters like Felix the Cat. In 1934, celebrities became an important element of the parade, with singer-actor Eddie Cantor joining the event that year. The Mickey Mouse helium balloon was also introduced that year. 

From 1942 to 1944, the parade was canceled because of the shortage of helium and rubber during World War II. Those three years are the only time the celebration has been called off. When the parade returned in 1945, it was broadcast on television for the first time and was bigger than earlier versions. In 2020, the parade wasn’t canceled, though few spectators were allowed along the parade route because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however since 2021 the parade has again returned to its original grand celebrations.  

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Significance: 

Every year, the Macy’s team behind the parade works to outdo the previous year’s event. This evolution has meant bigger balloons, more floats, better materials and new technologies, all resulting in the flashy spectacle that rolls through the streets of New York today. The 2022 parade will feature 16 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, more than 700 clowns, 12 marching bands and 10 performance groups, a host of musical stars, and of course, Santa Claus.

The Parade has always taken place in Manhattan. The parade originally started from 145th Street in Harlem and ended at Macy’s flagship in Herald Square (at the intersection of Broadway, Sixth Avenue, and 34th Street), making a 6-mile (9.7 km) route. A new route was established for the 2009 parade. From 77th Street and Central Park West, the route went south along Central Park to Columbus Circle, then east along Central Park South. Another new route was introduced with the 2012 parade. This change is similar to the 2009 route, but eliminated Times Square altogether. 

Today it has become the most anticipated event associated with the Thanksgiving Day celebrations. Many look forward to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with anticipation, curious to see what new creative floats people will come up with. It makes for fun family discussions. It is a great way to start your Thanksgiving holiday and a nice family tradition. It is fun for all ages to watch and see people’s creativity. Overall it is nice rine of enjoyment with your friends and family on this special occasion. 

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For many Americans Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which takes place in New York City, symbolizes the start of the holiday season. It also announces the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. The three-hour parade is held in Manhattan, ending outside Macy’s Herald Square, and takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thanksgiving Day, and it has been televised nationally on NBC since 1953. The Parade’s workforce is made up of Macy’s employees and their friends and family, all of whom work as volunteers. The parade offers a nice opportunity for economic activity in New York City. 

Other American cities also have parades held on Thanksgiving, none of which are run by Macy’s. The nation’s oldest Thanksgiving parade (the Gimbels parade, which has had many sponsors over the years, and is now known as the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade) was first held in Philadelphia in 1920. There is also a second Thanksgiving balloon parade within the New York metropolitan area, the UBS balloon parade in Stamford, Connecticut, located 30 miles (48 km) away; that parade is held the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so as not to compete with the parade in New York City.  

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Celebrations: 

Balloons makes a major part of celebrations during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.The balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade have several varieties. The oldest is the novelty balloon class, consisting of smaller balloons ranging widely in size and handled by between one and thirty people (the smallest balloons are shaped like human heads and fit on the heads of the handlers). The larger and more popular class is the character balloons, primarily consisting of licensed pop-culture characters. 

In addition to the well-known balloons and floats, the parade also features live music and other performances. College and high school marching bands from across the country participate in the parade. The television broadcasts feature performances by established and up-and-coming singers and bands.  

On the NBC telecast from in front of the flagship Macy’s store on Broadway and 34th Street, the marching bands perform live music. Most “live” performances by musicals and individual artists lip-sync to the studio, soundtrack or cast recordings of their songs, due to the technical difficulties of attempting to sing into a wireless microphone while in a moving vehicle. 

More than 44 million people typically watch the parade on television on an annual basis. It was first televised locally in New York City in 1939 as an experimental broadcast on NBC’s W2XBS (now WNBC). So if you are unable to visit this event then watch the livestream on T.V. with your family while enjoying Thanksgiving dinner and save yourself from all the tedious small talk.

Each year Macy’s also organizes a charity event such as donating tickets to their event, partnering with Meals on Wheels to give seniors a Thanksgiving meal, and giving grants to marching bands that perform in their parade. So many people also likes to donate for this cause during the parade. 

Most Searched FAQs on Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: 

1. When is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrated? 

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is annually held on the occasion of Thanksgiving Day which falls annually on every fourth Thursday of November in US. 

2. Why are animals no longer part of the parade? 

The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade featured live animals. This part of the tradition was scrapped and replaced with cartoon characters as the roars and growls from the animals scared the children. 

3. Where can I watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2022? 

The 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be airing on NBC and CBS.

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