Calendar of Ethnic Festivals

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Good Friday Processions

Bronx, Queens
“Walking” the Stations of the Cross ritual on Good Friday has become customary for many Roman Catholic churches in Latino and Hispanic communities throughout the city. Following are brief descriptions of a number of these neighborhood processions, representing Christ’s journey to the crucifixion. All begin at the church and are followed by a service of the traditional Good Friday liturgy.

St. Joseph’s Church
Noon-3 pm
1949 Bathgate Avenue (bet. 178 and E. Tremont Ave.)

Nearly 3,000 people join this theatrical procession, which ends by re-enacting the crucifixion on a “mountain” near Crotona Park. Since 1970, St. Joseph’s has performed the Stations of the Cross ritual in the streets of the South Bronx. Forty people in costume dramatize the ritual in Spanish, with full performances of the Catholic Biblical characters at each Station.

For more information contact: St. Joseph’s Church, 718-731-2504

St. Teresa Church
10 am – noon, and 7:30 pm – 9:30
109B26 130th Street

In this South Ozone Park neighborhood, the Good Friday procession and ritual is performed in English in the morning and Spanish, and French/Creole in the evening. At each stop, members of the parish give personal testimony related to the theme of the Station. Traditional hymns and prayers are offered in one or all of the languages, and the cross and other items associated with the crucifixion are carried. Along the way, neighbors step outside to pray while the procession passes.

For more information: St. Teresa Church, 718-529-358
last checked: 5/2004

Easter Parade
Easter Sunday, noon
Fifth Avenue, from Rockefeller Center to Central Park

The Easter Parade is a classic Fifth Avenue event. It evolved during the late 19th century when wealthy New Yorkers would stroll along “Millionaire’s Row” following Easter church services. Milliners and dressmakers from around the country would sketch the outfits, which would then be quickly copied for sale in department stores. Extravagant hats became the parade’s focus at the turn of the century, inspiring Irving Berlin’s famous song. Today the parade is a popular scene of elegant dress mixed with fanciful spring costumes and imaginative “Easter bonnets.” Perhaps its best feature is its democratic nature—spectators are welcome to join the informal procession.

For more information:

last update: 9/2003

Sakura Matsuri, “Cherry Blossom Festival”
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Last weekend in April or first weekend in May
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue

Celebrate the arrival of spring and our exuberant cherry blossom display with the annual all-weekend Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Matsuri. The event is one of the largest cherry blossom festivals in the Northeast with recent attendance between 40,000 and 54,000 visitors! It features Taiko drumming, traditional Japanese musical and dance performances, samurai sword fighting presentations, ikebana flower arranging demonstrations, tea ceremonies, haiku readings, children’s workshops, Japanese cooking demonstrations, calligraphy demonstrations, as well as tours of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Japanese Hill—and Pond Garden and world renowned bonsai collection.

For more information:, 718-623-7333 (events hotline), 718-623-7200 (general information)

last update: 9/2003

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