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What Are Second Line Parades and Where Did They Originate From?

New Orleans is the epicenter of parades and processions in America. If you live in this area, you know how second line parades fill most streets with joyful noises every Sunday afternoon.

If you’re a visitor, taking part in these parades is an experience that you’ll never forget as long as you live. Read on to find out how these parades have evolved over time and how they’re conducted today.

What is Second Line Parade?
Second line parades have a long history in New Orleans. The parades originally started as funeral processions to burial sites to honor the dead among the African American community after the civil war. The parades were historically led by brass bands playing somber jazz music. The bereaved family together with band members essentially formed the “first line”, while the rest of the mourners joined in as part of the “second line”.

Today, second line parades are a cultural art form of New Orleans. Residents organize these parades to celebrate different kinds of events such as weddings, memorials, birthdays, etc. The parades are usually organized by clubs and benevolent associations in the community.

If you're keen enough you'll notice that the parades take place between September to May each year. In addition, the parades have become increasingly popular, attracting tourists from other parts of the United States and the world. Other cities have begun to organize such ceremonies as well.

A chance for people to enjoy music, dance, and wear costumes:
Second line parades present people with the opportunity to interact and have unbridled fun. Participants from all corners of New Orleans turn up in colorful costumes and accessories to celebrate the occasion.

Second line parades are normally characterized by lots of dancing and jazz music. If you’re looking for pure fun and joy, few things are as exciting as being part a second line parade in a New Orleans backstreet.