Perhaps many cities have co-opted – or flat out copied – one of New Orleans’ truly original holidays with their various imitations and versions of Mardi Gras, but there is one sacred Crescent City day that has not, and can not, be duplicated anywhere else in the world, and that is Super Sunday. Each spring, while many Christians are spending over a month sacrificing something in the name of Jesus Christ in preparation of Easter Sunday, New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indian tribes prepare us to usher in what is most popularly known as St. Joseph’s Day.
Traditionally celebrated on the third Sunday after Easter as a feast in honor of Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary, the Roman Catholic Church moved this religious holiday to the preceding Wednesday, and actually has moved it around the calendar year quite a bit since its inception. Regardless of when the exact date is that any group may regard as St. Joseph’s Day, this celebratory holiday has always coincided with recognition of the average laborer (which legend says was the husband of the Virgin Mary’s occupation) and of regular fathers everywhere. In some places, this day has even become a national Labor Day or Father’s Day. So it does sort of make sense to host this celebration of working class fathers right around the time of a prophet’s birthday or resurrection day, no?
However, like most Christian holidays in the West, St. Joseph’s Day is a bit different in New Orleans. One of the beautiful characteristics that makes our city so unique is its incomparable hybrids of Native American tradition, colonial French and Spanish Catholicism, and African Yoruba practice all rolled into quite possibly the most inclusive, and sometimes confusing, act of cultural preservation. But no matter how confusing, the result is one of our favorite days of the entire year. In all its rainbow plumed, often drunken, parading glory, there is literally not a color on this Earth not represented on the Sunday before St. Joseph’s Day, or the Sunday before Spring Solstice. If you’ve ever been to a Super Sunday, then you know that even if you were not quite sure why you were there, you were darn sure celebrating all the hundreds of just regular folks on parade. New babies to meet, new costumes to admire, new dances to try, new neighbors to see? Can you think of a better way to let Mother Nature know that you are ready for spring? This is the day we let the Mardi Gras Indians show us how to welcome spring.
SUPER SUNDAY 2013 is SUNDAY, MARCH 17
Last year, we saw the Super Sunday parade route move back to its more original starting location at A.L. Davis Park (Central City), where the Super Sunday parade festivities will begin again this year at 11:00am on Sunday, March 17. Following two hours of ceremony and activities, the annual Super Sunday Parade will start at the corner of Washington Ave. and LaSalle St. (Uptown) at 1:00pm.
New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council Chief, Howard Miller has announced this year’s official Super Sunday parade route, presented by all of the city’s Mardi Gras Indian tribes and the R.E.A.L. organization. The procession will begin at Washington Ave. and LaSalle St.; moving onto Simon Bolivar Ave.; turning left onto Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; turning left onto Claiborne Ave.; turning left onto Washington Ave.; culminating back at Washington Ave. and LaSalle St. at A.L. Davis Park with cultural activities and live musical performances until approximately 6:00pm. But we all know the closing festival may last well into sundown.
Musical performers confirmed for this year’s parade and closing festival at A.L. Davis Park include: the Hot 8 Brass Band, the Soul Rebels Brass Band, the Stooges Brass Band, the To Be Continued Brass Band, the B.R.W. Singing Group, the Young Men Olympians, the Lady Buckjumpers, the Lady Divas, Joe Cool Davis, DJ Jubilee, DJ Captain Charles and more.
All Super Sunday official activities are free, all ages and open to the public.
ST. JOSEPH DAY 2013 is TUESDAY, MARCH 19
On Tuesday, March 19 the Guardians Institute, in partnership with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the National Performance Network, and Paige Royer and Kerry Clayton, present the 2nd Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame St. Joseph’s Day Open House at the Blue Plate Artists Lofts (formerly American Can Co) located at 1315 S. Jefferson Davis Highway from 6:00pm – 7:30pm. Please RSVP to QueenReesie@aol.com or 504-214-6630 by Friday, March 15.